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The Stalin school of falsification - index 

Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School of Falsification 



The Stalin School of Falsification was translated by Max Shachtman in 1937 for Pioneer Publishers. This 
transcription for the World Wide Web was made from this same edition. Max Shachtman's notes are also 
from the original edition. Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist 
writers' Internet Archive by David Walters in 1997 

1. Introduction by Max Shactman 

2. Foreword by Trotsky 

3. Foreword To The Russian Edition 

4. Letter To The Bureau Of Party History (Part I) 

5. Letter To The Bureau Of Party History (Part II) 

6. Letter To The Bureau Of Party History (Part III) 

7. Some documents Relating to The Origin of The Legend Of "Trotskyism" 

8. The Lost Document 

9. Two Speeches At The Session Of The Central Control Commission 

10. The War Danger — The Defense Policy And The Opposition 

11. A Contribution To The Political Biography Of Stalin 

12. How The October Insurrection Actually Took Place 

13. Appendix: Stalin And The Red Army By N. Markin 

14. The March 1917 Party Conference (Part I) 

15. The March 1917 Party Conference (Part II) 



A 








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The Leon Trotsky 


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Archives 1 



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The Stalin school of falsification - index 



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The Collected Writings of Leon Trotsky: Trotsky Internet Archive 



Leon 
Trotsky 




Born: 1879 Died: 1940 

Lev Davidovich Bronstein. Leader, with V.L 

Lenin, of the Russian Revolution. Architect of 

the Red Army. Soviet Commissar of Foreign 

Affairs 1917-1918 and Commissar of Military 

and Naval Affairs 1918-1924. In 1929:, 

expelled from the Communist Party by the 

Stalinist faction of the Party and then 

deported from the USSR. In 1938 he helped 

found the Fourth International, the World 

Party of Socialist Revolution. In 1940, 

murdered by a Stalinist assassin at his home 

in exile, in Mexico 

The Trotsky Internet Archive (TIA) hopes to 

be central clearing house for Trotskys 

writings. We encourage others to duplicate 

this effort by mirroring this site, copying 

selected writings from the TIA and otherwise 

disseminating Trotskys writings. Many of 

Trotskys writings remains to be translated 

from the original Russian. Many of these 

writings are still buried in the archives of the 

Russian KGB. Still others reside in various university archives such as the "Trotsky Works" at Harvard. 

We hope to offer, eventually, ALL these writings in as many languages as possible. This will require the 

efforts of dozens of volunteer transcribers, translators, etc. To be part of this effort write the Director of 

the Trotsky Internet Archive at tia@marxists.org 



Last updated: 03 June 2002 



The Trotsky Internet Archive Subject Indexes/Collected Writings Series Selected Works An index 

to a collection of writings here on the Trotsky Internet Archive selected by the TIA Director and 

volunteers as representing Trotskys most significant political works [note: this is still a work in 

progress] 

Leon Trotsky on China: a complete collection of Trotskys writings on China covering the years 1925 

through 1940 

Leon Trotsky on Britain: a complete collection of Trotskys writings on Britain covering the years 1920 



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The Collected Writings of Leon Trotsky: Trotsky Internet Archive 

through 1940 with an emphisis on the mid-20s 

The Rise of German Fascism: a complete collection of Trotskys writings on Germany covering the 

years 1930 through 1940 

The Spanish Revolution: a complete (...but under construction) collection of Trotskys writings on Civil 

War in Spain covering the years 1931 through 1939 

Our Revolution: Essays in Working Class and International Revolution, 1904-1917, A collection of 

Trotksys writings Edited by M. Olgin for the Soviet Government. 

The Trotsky Internet Archive Article Index sorted by date 

(but does not include articles in the Subject Indexes) 1903: Report of the Siberian Delegation 

1904: Our Political Tasks (book - 5 parts, 300K) 

1907: The Year 1905 (book) 

1908: Leo Tolstoy, Poet & Rebel (literary criticism/article) 

1909: Why Marxists Oppose Individual Terrorism (article) 

1910: The Intelligentsia And Socialism 

1914: War and the International (book) 

1916: On the Events in Dublin (article) 

1917: The Peace Program and the Revolution 

1917: Pacifism as the Servant of Imperialism (essay) 

1917: After the July Days: WHAT NEXT? (pamphlet - 156K in one section.) 

1917: The Struggle for State Power 

1918: Trotskys Military Writings, Volume 1 (collection of articles, essays & lectures) 

1918: Speech on Brest-Litovsk 

1918: Peace Negotiations and the Revolution 

1918: Soviet Government documents (authored by Trotsky as Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs 

from November of 1917 through March of 1918) 

1919: Trotsky Military Writings, Volume 2 (collection of articles, essays & lectures) 

1919: Rallying the Army During the Civil War (speech) 

1920: Trotsky Military Writings, Volume 3 (collection of articles, essays & lectures) 

1920: Terrorism and Communism: An Answer to Karl Kautsky 

1922: Between Red and White (essay) 

1923: The New Course (essay) 

1923: Communist Policy Toward Art (essay) 

1923: The Social Function of Literature & Art (essay) 

1923: What Is Proletarian Culture, and Is It Possible? (essay) 

1924: Literature and Revolution 

1924: Through What Stage Are We Passing? 

1924: May Day in the East & the West 

1924: Perspectives and Tasks in the East Speech on the Third Anniversary of the Communist 

University for Toilers of the East 

1924: The Lessons of October (essay - 160k-multi-part) [ Click Here for PDF version ] 



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The Collected Writings of Leon Trotsky: Trotsky Internet Archive 

1924: Lenin Dead (essay) 

1924: First Five Years of the Communist International 

1925: Lenin Book 

1926: On The Suppressed Testament of Lenin ( essay - 85K) 

1927: Problems of the Chinese Revolution (thesis - 104K) 

1927: Platform of the Opposition (in three parts, 260K total) 

1928: The Third International After Lenin (A Draft Criticism of the Communist International) 

(thesis) 

1928: On the Canton Insurrections: Three Letters to Preobrezhensky (letter - 34K) 

1930: Trotsky in Norway (essay) 

1930: The History of the Russian Revolution (book) 

1930: World Unemployment and The First Five Year Plan 

1930: My Life (autobiography) 

1931: The Permanent Revolution (and Results & Prospects ) (book) 

1932: Prinkipo Letter, 1932 (letter) 

1932: Vital Questions for the German Proletariat (pamphlet - 300k in 3 parts) 

1932: On Lenins Testament (essay) 

1932: In Defense of October (Speech in Copenhagen, Denmark - 64K) 

1933: The Class Nature of the Soviet State (essay) 

1934: A Program of Action for France (34K) 

1934: On the Kirov Assassination (76k) 

1935: If America Should Go Communist (essay - 22K) 

1935: How Did Stalin Defeat the Opposition? (essay) 

1935: Luxemberg and the Fourth International 

1935: The Workers State, Thermidor and Bonapartism (essay) 

1935: On the South African Thesis 

1936: Their Morals and Ours (essay) 

1936: The Revolution Betrayed (book) 

1937: The Case of Leon Trotsky 

1937: Not a Workers and Not a Bourgeois State? 

1937: Stalinism and Bolshevism (essay) 

1937: The Stalin School of Falsification (book) 

1937: On Democratic Centralism & The Regime (lOK) 

1938: Freedom of the Press and the Working Class (Pamphlet -lOK) 

1938: The Transitional Program for Socialist Revolution (Pamphlet -1 14K) [ Click Here for PDF 

version] 

1938: The USSR and Problems of the Transitional Epoch (abstract from the Transitional Program ) 

1938: Social-Patriotic SophistryThe Question of the Defense of Czechoslovakias National 

Independence 

1938: Czechoslovakia: Toward a Decision 

1938: Class Relations in the Chinese Revolution (Article - -35K) 

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1938: Thermidor and Anti-Semitism (Article - -30K) 

1939: Marxism in Our Time (9 IK) 

1939: The ABC of Materialist Dialectics (18K) [ Click Here for PDF versioni 

1939: The USSR and the War (65K) 

1940: Political Profiles (compilation; total: 1 meg k) 

1942: In Defense of Marxism (collection of articles, letters, 7 UK in 7 parts) [ Click Here for PDF 

version] 

1944: Fascism (pamphlet) 




iMt^Tifev InUKH^l AHCkvU 




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Marxists Writers Archive 
MIA: Marxist Writers 




Hianist Writers.^ 

A library of the Marxists Internet Archiue 




1820-1910 



Karl Marx & Fredrick Engels (1819-1893) 1,000+ * 

Founders of Marxist practice and philosophy. Established the ground work of Marxism through 

an examination of the rise of capitalism, the history of society, and critique of many prevailent 

philosophies. Established the First International Workers' organisation. 

[ Full Biography ] 



Joseph Dietzgen (1828-1888) < 5 
Created dialectical materialism 
independently of Marx & Engels, but on 
seeing their writings became their most 
ardent supporter. His main contributions 
were using dialectics to elaborate 
epistemology. 
[ Full Biography ] 

William Morris (1834-1896) 100+ 
Helped create the Socialist League (with E. 
Marx). An artist who became a revolutionary 
communist through his search to address the 
lack of creative and artistic freedom allowed 
in the capitalist work process. Wrote fiction 
on far in the future Communist societies. 

August Bebel (1840-1913) < 5 * 
Co-founder of the German Social 
Democracy with Wilhelm Liebknecht in 
1869. Part of the Reichstag from 1867. 
Outstandingly argued for the emancipation 
of women's rights before capitalism could be 
overthrown. Wrote about the workings of 
future Socialist society. 
[ Full Biography ] 



Antonio Labriola (1843-1904) < 5 
Among the first Italian Marxists, he was a writer 
and philosopher. Criticized the theories of Hegel, 
Nietzsche, Croce, and neo-Kantiansim. 

Jenny Marx Longuet (1844-1883) < 5 
Fought for Irish independence from England. 
Detailed the attorcities against Irish political 
prisoners in England. Braved a narrow escape 
from France after the massacres of the Paris 
Commune. Marx's eldest daugthter. 
[ Full Biography ] 

Franz Mehring (1846-1919) < 5 
A leader of the German Social Democrats, 
literary critic, writer and historian. Thoroughly 
critiqued and dismantled capitalist philosophies. 
Later a member of the Spartacist League and then 
helped found the Communist Party of Germany. 
[ Full Biography ] 

Daniel DeLeon (1852 - 1914) 40+ 
Helped create the IWW. Developed one of the 
most detailed outlines of how Socialist society 
should function. Believed that democratic control 
of all industries and services must be held by 
workers organised into industrial unions. 



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Marxists Writers Archive 

PaulLafargue (1841-1911) 5+ 

A member of the Paris Commune . Staunch 

advocate of Women's rights, wrote also on 

the history of religion, morals, literature, 

language, and comedy. Married to Marx's 

second daughter, Laura. 

[ Full Biography ] 



[ Full Biography ] 



1850-1930 



Karl Kautsky (1854-1938) 10+ 

Helped create the German Social-Democracy, one 

of the best-known theoreticians of the Second 

International, and a leading proponent of Marx & 

Engels after their death. During and after World 

War I he became a pacifist. 

[ Full Biography ] 

Eugene Debs (1855-1926) 20+ 

Helped build the American Railway Union, and 

later the American Socialist Party. Arrested for his 

political criticism of WWI, he ran for U.S. 

President while a political prisoner and received 

almost a million votes. 

[ Full Biography ] 

Eleanor Marx (1855-1898) 10+ 
Helped formed the Socialist League (with W. 
Morris), and wrote extensively in its paper. Wrote 
extensively on women's issues. Organizing, writer, 
record-keeper, and speaker for militant trade unions 
such as the Gasworkers, and the Dockers Union. 
[ Full Biography ] 

Georgi Plekhanov (1856-1918) 5+ 
Helped create the Russian Social-Democratic party, 
becomming a Menshevik after the split in the party, 
but he tried to keep the party united. Believed that 
capitalism need to grow up before socialism was 
possible; thus he opposed the Soviet government. 
[ Full Biography ] 



Clara Zetkin (1857-1933) < 5 
Leader of the international women's 
movement. National Executive member of 
the German Social Democratic party. Long 
time comrade of Rosa Luxemburg, helped 
create the Spartacists and German 
Communist Party. Supported the Soviet 
government. 
[ Full Biography ] 

James Connolly (1868-1916) 150+ 
Helped create the Irish Socialist 
Republican Party in 1896; served as 
Secretary of the Transport and General 
Workers Union. Executed for his leading 
role in the Easter Rising. 
[ Full Biography ] 

Maxim Gorky (1868-1936) 5+ 
World-renown writer of fiction, Gorky first 
focused on the plight of societal outcasts in 
Russia, then turned his attention to the 
struggles of the working class. 
[ Full Biography ] 

Christopher Hill (1912-) 1 
English Marxist historian. 

Nadezhada Krupskaya (1869-1939) < 5 
Bolshevik Revolutionary. Writer, educator 
and Secretary of the Party. Wife and 
advisor to V.I. Lenin. Secretary to the 
Board of Iskra beginning in 1901. Brought 
recognition of International Women's day 



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Marxists Writers Archive 



to Russia. 

[ Full Biography 1 



1870-1960 



Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) 500+ • 
Helped create the Bolshevik party. Led the 
Soviets to power in the Russian Revolution . 
Elected to the head of the Soviet government 
until 1922, when he retired due to ill health. 
Created the Communist International. Created 
the theory of Imperialism, emphasised the 
importance of the political party as vanguard 
in the revolution. 
[ Full Biography ] 



Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) 100+ • 
First Menshevik, later Bolshevik Revolutionary. 
As commissar of war led the Red Army to defeat 
the Entente in their invasion of Soviet Russia. 
Helped create the Left Opposition to overthrow 
Stalin and stop the monstorous attrocities he'd 
soon commit. Created the theory of the 
Permanent Revolution, and the Fourth 
International. 
[ Full Biography ] 



David Riazanov (1870-1938) < 5 
Historian and Archivist of Marxism, helped 
create the Marx-Engels Institute. Political 
prisoner of Stalinism, died in prison. 

Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) 20+ * 
Championed the idea of the mass strike. 
Tireless opponent of WWI, she renounced the 
German Social Democracy, helped to create 
the Spartacus League, and later the German 
Communist Party. Critical of the Soviet 
government. Assasinated by the German 
military. 
[ Full Biography ] 

Alexandra Kollontai (1872-1952) 30+ * 
Bolshevik Revolutionary. Led the Workers' 
Opposition, which opposed party control of 
trade unions and believed in industrial 
unionism. First woman ambassador in history. 
Proponent of free love, she wrote extensively 
on women's and other social issues. 
[ Full Biography ] 

Christian Rakovsky (1873-1941) 5+ 
President of Soviet Ukraine, worked to make 
the Soviet Ukrainian identity independent of 
Russia. Helped create the Left Opposition , 



Anton Pannekoek (1873-1960) < 5 

Dutch astonomer. Helped form a Marxist party 

in the Netherlands. Member of the German 

Social Democratic party. 

[ Full Biography ] 

Anatoly Lunacharsky (1875-1933) 5+ 
Bolshevik Revolutionary, outstanding orator. 
Commissar for Education in the Soviet 
government. Historian and archivist of Russia, 
he wrote extensive, personal biographical 
portraits on the leaders of the revolution. 

John MacLean (1879-1923) 75+ 

Scottish schoolteacher and Marxist educator. 

His evening-classes produced many of the 

activists who became instrumental in the Clyde 

revolts during and after WWI. Soviet Consul to 

Scotland. 

[ Full Biography ] 

Henri Wallon (1879-1962) 5+ 
European Psychologist who elaborated a 
systematic Marxist psychology. 



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Marxists Writers Archive 



seen as its ideological leader. Explained 
Socialist economics. Political prisoner of 
Stalinism, died in prison. 
[ Full Biography ] 



1880-1970 



Natalia Sedova (1882-1962) < 5 
Russian Revolutionary. Worked with Lenin and 
Trotsky on pre-revolutionary Bolshevik 
newspaper Iskra. Publicly split with Fourth 
International in 1951. Wife of Leon Trotsky. 

Gregory Zinoviev (1883-1936) < 5 
Bolshevik. With Kamenev, opposed the plans for 
a revolution. Allied with Stalin and Kamenev 
against Trotskyism. Later, allied with Trotsky 
against Stalin. Wrote about the history of the 
party. Executed by Stalin. 
[ Full Biography ] 

Louise Bryant (1885 - 1936) < 5 
American Revolutionary, supporter of the Soviet 
government. Historian of the revolution. Tireless 
advocate to stop U.S. invasion of Soviet Russia. 
Wife of John Reed. 

Georg Lukacs (1885-1971) 5+ • 
Hungarian philosopher, writer, and literary critic. 
Commissar for Culture and Education in 
Hungary's short-lived Socialist government 
(1919). Helped lead the Hungarian uprising of 
1956 against Stalinist repression. Created Marxist 
theory of aesthetics that opposed political control 
of artists, defended humanism, elaborated 
alienation. 
[ Full Biography ] 



Nikolai Bukharin (1888-1938) 5+ 
Bolshevik Revolutionary. Editor of Pravda 
(1928-29). Joined Stalin against Trotsky, 
then led the Right Opposition against Stalin. 
A theoretical leader of the party, focused 
heavily on economics, and wrote on market 
socialism. Executed by Stalin. 
[ Full Biography ] 

James Cannon (1890-1974) < 5 
American, IWW organiser, later helped 
create the US Communist Party. In the 1920s 
became a Trotskyst, and helped create the 
US Socialist Workers Party. 
[ Full Biography ] 

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) 50+ * 
Helped create the Italian Communist Party. 
Arrested in 1926 for his revolutionary 
activities and sentenced by a fascist court to 
20 years imprisonment. Theorized key 
concepts such as hegemony, base and 
superstructure, organic intellectuals, and war 
of position. 
[ Full Biography ] 

Jose Carlos Mariategui (1894 - 1930) 5+ 
Peruvian Professor. Self-educated. Historian 
of European Marxism and movements in 
South America. 



John Reed (1887-1920) 20+ 

American Revolutionary, supporter of the Soviet 

government. Historian of the revolution. Tireless 

advocate to stop U.S. invasion of Soviet Russia. 

Husband of Louise Bryant. 

[ Full Biography ] 



Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) 5+ 
Soviet Psychologist who founded the 
Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) 
school of human development. 
[ Full Biography ] 



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Marxists Writers Archive 



1900-1980 



Erich Fromm (1900-1980) 5+ 
German-born U.S. psychoanalyst and social 
philosopher who explored the interaction between 
psychology and society. By applying Freudian 
principles to social problems, Fromm helped show 
the way to a psychologically balanced, "sane 
society." 
[ Full Biography ] 

Pandelis Pouliopoulos (1900-1943) < 5 
Italian Trotskyst. Lead mass movements of 
veterans and defended workers in court. Wrote 
extensively about Trotsky. Shot dead by fascists 
while in prison. 

CLR James (1901 - 1989) 75+ 
African American. Lucid dialectician, historian, 
novelist, & playwright. Stressed the importance of 
Afro-American workers to the revolutionary 
movement, for saw the civil rights movement 
decades before it got underway. 

Alexander Luria (1902-1977) < 5 
The creator of neuropsychology. Soviet 
Psychologist who made advances in cognitive 
psychology, the processes of learning and 
forgetting, and mental retardation. Charted the 
way in which damage to specific areas of the brain 
affect behavior. 



Alexei Leont'ev (1904-1979) < 5 

Soviet Psychologist who developed his own 

theory of activity which linked social 

context to development. 

[ Full Biography ] 

Max Shachtman (1904-1872) 20+ 
American Communist Party, then helped 
create the American Trotskyist movement. 
Left the SWP and joined the Socialist Party. 
[ Full Biography ] 

George Novack (1905-198?) < 5 
American Trotskyst.... 
[ Full Biography ] 

Raya Dunayevskaya (1910-1987) < 5 
American Russian Trotskyst, Humanist. 
Secretary to Trotsky, translated many Marx, 
Engels and Lenin. Critiqued Lenin's theory 
of the Party being the vanguard. 
[ Full Biography ] 

Michel Pablo (1911-1996) 5+ 
International Secretary of Fourth 
International after WWII. Minister in Ben 
Bella's Socialist government of Algeria. 
Developed theory of "centuries of deformed 
workers states". 
[ Full Biography ] 



Hal Draper (1914-1990) 5+ 
American Trotskyst.... 



1920-2000 



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Marxists Writers Archive 

Evald Ilyenkov (1924 - 1979) 5+ 
Soviet philosopher. Charted the 
materialist development of Hegel's 
dialectics. Wrote extensively on 
dialetics, the Metaphysics of Positivism, 
and The Dialectics of the Abstract and 
Concrete in Marx's Capital. 
[ Full Biography ] 



Felix Mikhailov (1930-) < 5 

Soviet Psychologist. Carried on the work begun by 

Lev Vygotsky, specifically in the area of 

epistemology. 

[ Full Biography ] 

Geoff Pilling (1940-1997) 



Che Guevara (1928-1967) 10+ * 
International Revolutionary. Helped 
create and maintain the Cuban 
Revolution. Creatively tried to establish 
socialism in Cuba, worked tirelessly to 
create revolutions throughout Africa and 
South America. Created the guerilla foco 
theory — building a revolutionary 
movement through militant resistance 
instead of party building. 
[ Full Biography ] 



Daniil El'konin (unknown) 

Soviet Psychologist who developed Activity Theory 
along the lines of cultural-historical leading activities 
such as emotional contact, play, learning, social 
contact, and work. 

Lucien Seve (unknown) < 5 

French psychologist. Developed a science of human 

personality based on historical-materialism. 



Istvan Meszaros (1930-) < 5 
Economist.... 



Search 

Marxist History I Reference Writers I Subject Archvie I Encyclopedia of Marxism I 

Marxists Internet Archive 



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Stalin School of Falsification -- Introduction 



Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

Introduction 

This Is A Book about liars and their lies. Yet it does not pursue a mere iconoclastic end. It aims to show 
that the history of the Russian revolution has been falsified for the purpose of falsifying the basis of the 
revolution itself. A return to the original basis and the ideals of the Bolsheviks in the first years of the 
Soviet republic requires first of all that the true picture of the revolution be restored by removing the 
thick encrustation of falsehoods which overlays it. 

The history of man's development is also a history of the men who represent its social cross-currents, or 
its succeeding periods. Indeed, it is sometimes easier to distinguish a segment of social development by 
the men who prominently represent it than by any of its other marks. For, while men do make their own 
history, a multitude of forces combine to produce the great man of each period and the agglomeration of 
men not quite so great who compose the general staff. For a period of progress, history kneads its leaders 
out of one batch of dough; for a period of reaction, a dough of very much different ingredients is used. 

It is not, therefore, because the conflicts in the Soviet Union are due to a base rivalry for power of 
individuals, but because the groups of individuals involved reflect the profound economic and political 
changes of the last fifteen years, that the latter can be grasped in the most direct and, so to speak, 
personal sense by an analysis of the former. Without the physical extermination or the moral destruction 
of the men who won the revolution and its conquests, it would have been impossible for those who 
succeeded them to reduce the revolution and its achievements to the low level attained almost a score of 
years since the Bolshevik uprising. 

The Bolshevik party of 1917, the one that led the revolution to victory, was the most unusual political 
organization in the world. Strictly centralized and intolerant of the dilution of its principles, functioning 
illegally under Czarism and therefore dispersed by repression to the far corners of Russia and all the 
other countries of the earth, it nevertheless led a much richer and more democratic inner life than do most 
parties today. Its vigorous internal discussions and disputes, often conducted by means of temporary 
groupings, factions and their special periodicals, were not peremptorily settled by appeals to constituted 
and sanctified authority, to say nothing of administrative repressions or bureaucratic measures against 
minority opinion. The combination of party democracy and centralization enabled the party to live and 
flourish even under Czarist reaction, to pass through the Revolution of 1905, the long years of reaction 
and World War which followed, and finally to emerge victorious in the decisive conflict of November, 
1917. The Bolshevik party before the Revolution of 1917 was the product of a process of selection. After 
the tests it went through, there was little room in it for weaklings, dilettantes, adventurers and careerists. 



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Stalin School of Falsification -- Introduction 

To he sure, not all the members of the Bolshevik party were cast from exactly the same metal. Nor is 
there any ground- especially now, in retrospect- for idealizing even that totality of all the members which 
was the party itself. On the contrary. Both collectively and individually it was not free from flaws and 
even serious flaws-more telling among the individuals separately than taken as a whole. But firmly 
grouped together by the cement of revolutionary doctrine, having passed a number of drastic tests for 
almost two harsh decades, the Bolsheviks formed a party far superior to any other. It was able to perform 
what almost everybody else considered, a month before the seizure of power, a miracle, and what many 
continued to consider a miracle years after November, 17. And whatever may or must be said about the 
short comings of the Bolshevik party, the great, ineradicable historic fact remains that the "miracle" was 
accomplished. It is not every day that such a revolution occurs and it is not everybody that can 
accomplish it. 

Early in the revolution, honest adversaries of Bolshevism, who saw through the abominable lies of the 
capitalist press, made note of the indubitable probity of the Russian revolutionists. "The Russian 
Communists, "wrote the American sociologist, Edward Alsworth Ross, some five years after the 
revolution, "were men with a vision of a regenerated society which they sought to realize. All the party 
leaders who in November, 1917, laid rude hands on Russian society to remold it by force were sincere 
men, since, for the sake of their ideal, they had made themselves targets for the inhuman persecutions 
that went on under the Czars. When freedom arrived in March, nobody had any standing with the 
Russian masses who had not stood up for them in those ghastly years when every spokesman for the 
robbed toilers had to skulk and run and burrow if he would remain at large. These fire-tested 
revolutionaries had behind them a record of personal disinterestedness and heroism which should put to 
the blush our smug captains of conservative opinion, who have never risked their lives or freedom for 
others yet affect to dwell on a higher moral plane than the Russian fighters. '\The Russian Soviet 
Republic, p.8. New York, 1928.) 

After the Bolsheviks established their government, one of Lenin's greatest concerns was the preservation 
of this party of "fire-tested revolutionaries" from the negative effects of the power which had suddenly 
come into their possession in a country with a low cultural level and with powerful traditions of 
bureaucratism. He was the most tireless and merciless critic of the party and Soviet bureaucracy, and his 
last 

two years in particular were filled with increasing apprehensions over its alarming growth. He saw 
thousands of former anti-revolutionists flocking to the powerful official government party after the 
consolidation of the revolution, joining it only because it now disposed of the accolade of respectability 
and the distribution of a vast number of posts. Many of his most scathing strictures were directed at these 
prudent careerists and belated joiners, and the periodic party "purgings" which he insisted on were part of 
his attempt to reduce their pernicious influence. At the same time he was preoccupied with preserving the 
unity and integrity of the body of old revolutionists, who, with all their shortcomings (which he knew so 
well!) were a repository of doctrine and revolutionary tradition. Constantly refreshed with new blood, 
they would more easily withstand the ravages of decay than the careerists and upstarts who, five years 
after the revolution, were discovering the merits, not of Bolshevism, but of an established government 
and its official party apparatus. 

"It must always be taken into account, "he wrote to the Central Committee of the party in March, 1922, 
when the probationary period for new members was being discussed, "that it is a great temptation to 
enter the party of the government. The throng of petty bourgeois and even anti- proletarian elements 



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anxious to join our party will increase enormously in the near future. The six months' period probation 
for the workers will not be able to dam back this throng, the more so as it will be easy for the petty 
bourgeois elements to become workers for the time being. If we are not to deceive ourselves and others, 
we must apply the definition of workers solely to those whose life has imparted to them a proletarian 
psychology, and who have worked for several years in shops or factories, not for the attainment of 
outside aims, but in consequence of general social and economic conditions. To state the matter openly: 
it must be recognized that at the present time the proletarian party policy is determined not so much by 
its membership as by the unlimited and powerful authority of that thin layer which we may name the old 
party guard. ''(International Press Correspondence, Vol.6, No. 7, p. 92.) 

It would of course be absurd to attribute to Lenin a superstitious faith in the flawlessness of this Old 
Guard. But that it was generally considered as one of the main guarantees against retrogression - the Old 
Guard, that is, as a collective force — is conclusively attested by precisely that "unlimited and powerful 
authority "it enjoyed in the party and through out the working class. 

In a country of some 150,000,000 population, the Old Guard of the revolutionary movement constituted 
only a very small group, small even in relation to the size of the Communist party. In the first years after 
the revolution, when the party had grown to between a third and a half a million members, the Old Guard 
rarely composed more than ten per cent of the ranks. Moreover, natural deaths and the fact that the "thin 
layer "contributed so many of its members to the fighters killed in the bitter civil war, continually 
reduced its numbers. The 1922 census of the party membership, with 886,313 men and women 
registered, showed that a total of 45,585 members had joined the party in 1917 or before, and that the 
party contained only 10,431 members who had joined in 1916 or before, that is, prior to the outbreak of 
the March, 1917, Revolution. The 1925 census, registering 401,481 members, showed only 86,496 who 
joined the party not later than 1917, of whom only 8,249 of the pre-1917 period remained. (Jahrbuchfur 
Politiky Wirtschrafty Arbeiterbewegung, 1925-1926, p. 487. Berlin, 1926.) It would be safe to say, then, 
that ten years after the Bolshevik revolution, there were not more than 5,000 members left in the 
communist party who would properly fall into the category Lenin called the party's Old Guard. 

Before dealing with the. ultimate fate of this Old Guard, it is necessary to dwell briefly on the questions 
relating to it which were raised by Trotsky in 1928. Like Lenin, his appreciation of the Old Guard was 
unmingled with superstitious worship of it. It was already evident that the wearing years of supreme 
tension through which the revolution and its leaders had passed, years of defending an isolated workers' 
republic against almost insuperable internal difficulties and foreign pressure unrelieved by a successful 
revolution in the West, were having their effect on the people and on the leading stratum of the party. 
Conservatism, routine, adaptation, bureaucratism-all were producing significant changes in the political 
mentality of the party, from top to bottom. While underlining the tremendous importance of the Old 
Guard, Trotsky opened a drive for war upon bureaucratism and for pumping the restorative blood of the 
best forces in the new generation into the arteries of the old. Unless this were done, he emphasized, there 
was a danger of the degeneration of the old revolutionary group, a degeneration not unlike that of the old 
disciples of Marx and Engels-Adler, Bernstein, Guesde, Kautsky — who had gradually abandoned their 
old positions. 

It is important to note that the first "struggle against Trotskyism" in the Russian Communist Party — the 
so-called "literary discussion "of 1923 ~ was directed at Trotsky's alleged slanders of the Old Guard. The 
entire party apparatus was mobilized to "defend the Old Guard "and to smash Trotsky and his friends 
merely because they suggested the possibility, the danger of a degeneration of the ruling group. 



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"It is quite incomprehensible, "said Stalin, in a now for gotten polemic against Trotsky, "that such 
opportunists and Mensheviks as Bernstein, Adler, Kautsky, Guesde and others, can be named in the same 
breath as the old Bolshevist Guard, which has been fighting honorably all this time against opportunism, 
Menshevism and the Second International, and will, I hope, continue to fight them in the future. What is 
the cause of this error, of this confusion; what need is there for it, if nothing but the interest of the party is 
held in view, if there are no ulterior motives behind it, aiming by no means at the defense of the Old 
Guard? How are we to understand these insinuations as to opportunism with regard to the old Bolsheviki, 
who have been reared in the midst of a fight against opportunism? In the third place, I am by no means 
convinced [!] that the old Bolsheviki are absolutely immune [! !] against the danger of degeneration, any 
more than I can reasonably maintain that we are for instance immune against earthquake. Such a danger 
can and must be admitted as a possibility. But is this intended to signify that this danger is actual and 
present? I do not believe it. Neither has Comrade Trotsky mentioned any signs indicating that the danger 
of degeneration is an actual danger. ''(International Press Correspondence, Vol.4, No. 12, p. 87.) 

In 1924, then, Stalin argued against Trotsky that the Old Bolsheviks were no less "absolutely immune 
against the danger of degeneration "than they were from earthquakes — a rare enough phenomenon. And 
by "Old Bolsheviks," Stalin and his partisans had certain individuals in mind, specifically the more 
eminent representatives of that group. The Political Bureau named by the Central Committee after the 
Thirteenth Party Congress, in May, 1924, was composed of Stalin, Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, 
Rykov, Tomsky and Trotsky. In the struggle against Trotsky, the other six were named as the principal 
leaders of the "Old Guard." Thirteen years later, Stalin has shot, driven to suicide, or is preparing to shoot 
all the other members of that Political Bureau, all the main leaders of the Old Guard who, though there 
was as much danger of their degeneration as there was of an earthquake, turned out to be, according to 
Stalin, Fascists, assassins, spies, diversionists, wreckers, scum of the earth and mad dogs. 

The drastic nature of the change in the Soviet Union since Lenin's death may be further emphasized by 
reference to Stalin's concluding polemic against the new opposition of Zinoviev, Kamenev and 
Krupskaya at the Fourteenth Party Congress in 1925. "In 1928, after the Twelfth Congress, some people 
assembled in an 'underground,' worked out a platform to abolish the Political Bureau and to politicize the 
Secretariat, that is, to convert the Secretariat into a political leadership by composing it out of Zinoviev, 
Trotsky and Stalin. What is the significance of this platform? What does this mean? This means: to lead 
the party without Rykov, without Kalinin, without Tomsky, without Molotov, without Bukharin. Nothing 
came of this platform, not only because it was unprincipled but also because without the comrades 
mentioned by me, it is impossible to lead the party. ''(My emphasis. M. S.) 

Not so long ago, therefore, Stalin exclaimed that it was impossible to lead the Communist party without 
Rykov, Kalinin, Tomsky, Molotov and Bukharin, not to mention Zinoviev and Trotsky. Of the seven 
who received honorable mention as indispensable leaders, one has been shot, one has been driven to 
suicide or killed, two are awaiting trial for their lives, and Trotsky has a price on his head. The other two 
remain formally members of the Political Bureau, figure — heads pure and simple, whose tenure even in 
that innocuous capacity is only a matter of time. The Political Bureau has become only slightly less of a 
fiction than the party itself. The "unpoliticalizable" Secretariat has become an omnipotent device in the 
hands of the Leader, and Bukharin's joke in 1921, that "the history of humanity is divided into three great 
periods: the matriarchate, the patriarchate and the secretariat, "is no longer a joke. It is a rude reality, con 
summated by a rude and disloyal General Secretary. 

And the handful of old Bolsheviks, the "thin layer "of the Old Guard - what has become of it? It has 

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been crushed by the monstrous bureaucratic machine. Part of it was exterminated physically in the recent 
trials; the rest of it is in prison, and every prisoner is in daily danger of following Zinoviev and the others 
to their graves. 

There are many who seek to still the protesting voice of their conscience, or who rationalize their 
subservience to the mighty bureaucracy, by disseminating a cowardly interpretation of the change. "The 
former leaders, who shouted so much about world revolution, were primarily agitators, men who fitted in 
best with the romantic and heroic period of the revolution. But the world revolution has subsided now, 
and what is needed is a new type of leader. Now we need practical men, realists, builders of a new 
society, men who are able to fill the commanding positions in economic life, in government 
administration, in foreign affairs." 

The argument is not only miserably philistine and reactionary, but it is not even in consonance with facts. 
The facts are that precisely those men have been wiped out who were not only the Old Guard of 
Bolshevism, but the ablest government administrators, the most competent economic directors, the best 
equipped representatives of the Soviet republic abroad. Even a partial list of the most prominent of these 
men, all of whom have been driven out, imprisoned or murdered by Stalin, will show the devastating 
havoc wrought in the country by the bureaucracy in the period of its rise to omnipotence. 

Of the first Council of People's Commissars — the actual Soviet government — organized in November, 
1917, four members died natural deaths: Lenin, Nogin, Skvortsov-Stepanov and Lunacharsky. Still alive 
and in Stalinist service are Stalin himself, Miliutin, and the trio who functioned for a few months as the 
head of the Army and Navy Commissariat: 

Antonov-Ovseyenko, Dybenko and Krylenko. The other commissars were Rykov, now in prison; 
Shliapnikov, dying in prison, where he has been confined for years; Lomov-Oppokov and N. F. 
Glebov-Avilov, the latter a Bolshevik since 1904, are both in prison now as "wreckers"; Teodorovich, 
condemned in November, 1930 as a counter-revolutionary "Kondratievist, "has vanished into some 
obscure hole; Trotsky, Soviet Russia's first Commissar of Foreign Affairs, is in Mexican exile, charged 
by Moscow with being an "agent of Hitler and the Mikado." 

Lenin's deputy as Chairman of the Council — a post equivalent to that of Prime Minister of France or 
England, or President of the United States - was Leo Kamenev; he was shot in August 1986 as a "Fascist 
assassin. "Alexis Rykov, who succeeded Kamenev in that post in 1925, is now in prison accused of the 
same crime. Rykov was not only head of the Council of the Soviet Union, but also of the Russian 
Socialist Federated Soviet Republic - Russia proper. When he was removed from that post too, his 
successor was Sergei Syrtsov, a Bolshevik for a quarter of a century, head of the Russian Soviet Republic 
from 1929 to 1931, removed as a "counter revolutionary plotter, "and still in prison. Also in prison, even 
rumored shot, is L. Sosnovsky, once Russia's most popular political writer, the early floor leader and 
whip of the Bolshevik group in the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets. Driven to 
suicide in 1925 was Lutovinov, the secretary of the Central Executive Committee. Worn almost to death 
in the Verkhne-Uralsk Solitary Prison is the secretary of this same Committee from 1922 to 1928, 
Timofey Sapronov, who joined the party in 1912. Aveli Yenukidze, who succeeded Lutovinov in his 
post, and retained it for more than a decade, was suddenly removed in 1985 and imprisoned — with the 
whispered charges that this man, who had been so loyal a servitor of the bureaucracy for years, had 
participated in the plot to kill S. M. Kirov. His nephew, Lado Yenukidze, has been imprisoned for nine 
years as a Trotskyist. In prison also is V. V. Schmidt, a worker-Bolshevik, for years the head of the 



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miners' union, former Commissar of Labor and one-time vice-chairman of the Central Executive 
Committee of the Soviets. Shot as a "Trotskyist wrecker "in January 1937, Mikhail Boguslavsky, an old 
Bolshevik, was chairman of the Small Council — the most important commission of the Council of 
People's Commissars. Occupying the same post at another time was the above-mentioned T. V. 
Sapronov, who was also president of the Executive Committee of the Moscow Provincial Government 
from 1918-1919. Like all the others whom the bureaucracy smashed, he occupied leading posts in those 
crucial years when leading posts were not lightly conferred. 

Executed or imprisoned are the heads of the most important local Soviets in Lenin's time. For years, the 
chairman of the Leningrad Soviet was Gregory Zinoviev; he was shot in the August 1986 trial. The 
secretary of the Leningrad Soviet, Kostina, is in a Siberian prison. The chairman of the next most 
important local Soviet government, that of Moscow, was Leo Kamenev, until 1925. He was shot with 
Zinoviev; the secretary of the Moscow Soviet in the early days, Boguslavsky, was shot five months after 
the chairman. The first head of the Soviets in the Urals, the president of the Executive Committee of the 
Region, was Beloborodov. When the Whites and the Czechoslovaks were advancing on Yekaterinburg, 
Belohorodov signed the order of execution of ex-Czar Nicholas the Bloody. Now Beloborodov, one of 
the earliest Trotskyists, who capitulated to Stalin in 1929, is in prison. Shot, in prison or in exile are 
virtually all the other Bolshevik leaders of the Urals region: Eugene Preobrazhensky, one of the party's 
leading economists and theoreticians, and co-author of what was once the standard text-book on 
Communism in Russia and throughout the Inter national; Ufimtsev, in prison; Boris M. Eltsin, one of 
Lenin's oldest friends, is in prison, together with his son Victor ~ the other son, Sergei, died in 
deportation; V. M. Chernykh, head of the Urals Cheka, is in prison; Mrachkovsky has been shot. 

The chairman of the Regional Committee of the Russian Soviets in Finland in 1917, leader of the 
Bolsheviks in the Baltic Fleet, a confidant of Lenin, was Ivan T. Smilga, one of the oldest party leaders. 
His life, now being spent in prison, depends upon an order from Stalin. Yakob Drobnis, chairman of the 
Poltava Soviet in the first years, was shot as a "Trotskyist wrecker "in January 1987. Together with him 
went the former chairman of the Voronezh Soviet, Boguslavsky. Shot also was the first head of the Kiev 
Soviet, Gregory Piatakov. Shot five months before was Ivan Nikitich Smirnov, the "Lenin of Siberia, 
"founder of the "buffer "Republic of the Far East and chairman of the Siberian Revolutionary Committee 
in the difficult days of the civil war. The fate of Syrtsov, we already know; he was the first chairman of 
the Rostov Soviet as well as of its Revolutionary Military Committee. His fate has been shared for nine 
years by the chairman of the first Bolshevik Soviet in Tiflis, Lado Dumbadze, who is so paralyzed by 
shock received during the civil war that he cannot feed or dress himself; he has been sent from prison to 
prison and is now a deportee in Sarapool, entirely alone, dying. 

One Commissar of Labor after another has been removed and is now in prison for inability or refusal to 
adapt himself to the Stalinist machine: Shliapnikov, Vladimir Smirnov who followed him, then Mikhail 
Uglanov and finally V. V. Schmidt. Also imprisoned or shot is the Old Leningrad Bolshevik, G. Fedorov, 
first chief of the Conflicts Department of the Commissariat of Labor. 

The occupants of the position of Commissar of Posts and Telegraphs have experienced a similar fate. 
The very first one, Glebov-Avilov, is in prison as a "wrecker"; I. N. Smirnov, who held the post until his 
expulsion from the party in 1927, was shot as a "Trotskyist assassin "in 1936; Rykov, who held the post 
until 1936, is in the G.P.U. prison where every refinement is used to extort from him one of those 
notorious "confessions"; Rykov's place was taken by Yagoda, who was demoted to it from his previous 
position as head of the G.P.U. A few weeks later, Yagoda too was removed and imprisoned. The 



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charges? He embezzled fabulous sums, and spent the money on revolting orgies. He is the agent Stalin 
used to frame-up men like Smirnov, Kamenev, Mrachkovsky and to execute them as . . . "scum of the 
earth." 

The two most important republics of the Soviet Union after Russia are the Ukraine and Georgia. All the 
most authentic Bolshevik leaders of these countries have either been shot or imprisoned by Stalin. 

Piatakov, the head of the Provisional Workers' and Peas ants' Government of the Ukraine, was executed 
in January, 1937 for conspiring to sell the Ukraine to Hitler! Rakovsky, founder of the Ukrainian Soviet 
Republic in 1918, first chair man of its Council of People's Commissars and also its Commissar of 
Foreign Affairs, is in prison, presumably for the same crime. Their prosecutor? Andrei Vishinsky, who, 
in 1918, when the Piatakovs and Rakovskys were fighting for the establishment of the Soviet power, was 
himself active in the work of sabotaging the provisioning of the Ukraine. The whole change that the 
Soviet Union has undergone is demonstrated by this symbolic contrast! Imprisoned on the charge of 
counter-revolutionary activity are founders of the Ukrainian Soviets like Kotsiubinsky, like General 
Dmitri Schmidt, the young worker who organized the first Ukrainian Red Cavalry forces in the struggle 
to liberate the Ukraine from the Whites; Drobnis, a distinguished figure in the Ukrainian revolution, has 
already been mentioned; imprisoned in the dungeons of Solovietsky Prison is Alexander Shumsky, 
member of the Central Committee of the Party and Ukrainian Commissar of Education, for resisting 
Stalin's bureaucratic policy with regard to national minorities; Eugenie Bosch, another of the Ukraine's 
best Bolshevik militants, was driven to suicide in 1925; her act was repeated eight years later by 
Skrypnik, another old Bolshevik, Shumsky's successor as Commissar of Education, once chairman of the 
Central Council of Factory and Shop Committees in Petrograd in 1--7 and later Commissar of the 
Workers' and Peasants' Inspection. The positions occupied by the great founders and builders of Soviet 
Ukraine have been concentrated in the hands of a single boss, Postyshev, an unknown, who rules the 
Ukraine for Stalin as provinces were ruled for the Czar by his Governor- Generals. 

What Postyshev is to the Ukraine, Lavrenti Beria is to Georgia. He has taken the place of all the best 
Georgian Bolsheviks, who have filled Stalin's prisons, concentration camps and places of deportation for 
years. The first three chairmen of the Council of People's Commissars of Soviet Georgia are now 
imprisoned: Budu Mdivani, Sergei Kavtaradze and Gogoberidze. So is Makharadze, who, in 1921, was 
the first Chairman and Commissar of Agriculture of the Provisional Council of Commissars of the Soviet 
Republic; the dreadful fate of Lado Dumbadze, Commissar of Labor and Social Welfare of the same 
provisional Council, has previously been referred to. The leaders of the Presidium of the Tiflis Congress 
of the Georgian Soviets in 1922, Toroshelidze and Misha Okudjava, have just been arrested again as 
"assassins "and "wreckers." Tsuladze, one of the early leaders of the Tiflis government, has shared 
Dumbadze's imprisonment and exile for years. So has Vassili Pankratov, the former vice-chairman of the 
Transcaucasian Cheka. So did Kote Tsintsadze, until his death a few years ago; Tsintsadze, once head of 
the Tiflis, then of the Caucasian Cheka, was one of the finest representatives of the old Bolshevik 
generation, driven to his death by the persecutions of Stalin, with whom he had worked hand in glove in 
the early years of the Georgian movement, particularly in the famous "expropriations" under Czarism. 
Precisely those Georgian Bolsheviks - like Mdivani and Makharadz - in whose cause Lenin engaged 
himself so warmly against the bureaucratic factionalism of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky in 1922, have been 
sent to prison or death to make room for careerists and incompetents. 

Industry, agriculture, planned economy, finances - in all these the ravages of the bureaucracy have 
wiped out one draft of functionaries and directors after another, beginning with those who guided the 



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work in Lenin's time. The first two chairmen, after Lenin, of the all-important Council of Labor and 
Defense, were Kamenev and Rykov; one has lost his life, the other his freedom. The most famous 
members of the Supreme Council of National Economy have recently been shot or imprisoned on the 
dumbfounding charge of plotting to wreck that same national economy: Rykov, who was the head of the 
Supreme Council for years is gone; gone also are the three vice-chairmen of the Council, Tomsky, 
Dogadov and Ossinsky, removed from their posts together with Rykov in 1980; Piatakov, who was 
deputy chairman of the Council in 1928, was judicially assassinated in January of this year; imprisoned is 
L T. Smilga, who was vice-chairman of the Council from 1921 to 1928, and of the Government Planning 
Commission from 1924 to 1926; awaiting trial together with Rykov is N. L Bukharin, once a leading 
member of the Council, chairman of the Communist International for four years after Zinoviev was 
removed, and editor of the official government daily, hvestia, at the time of his arrest. 

In the field of industry, the scars are no less deep. Piatakov, who was recently shot, was formerly 
chairman of the Central Administration of the Chemical Industries and, at the time of his arrest, the 
Assistant Commissar of Heavy Industry; despite the nominal superiority of Commissar Ordjonikidze, 
Piatakov was the actual head of the Commissariat. Shot with him was Drobnis, the director of the famous 
Kemerovo Chemical Plants, and Stanislas Rataichak, head of the Coke Industry Trust and former chief of 
the Central Administration of the Basic Chemical Industries. Awaiting the same fate is Loginov, manager 
of the Kharkov Coke Trust. As in the case of every name mentioned on these pages, the men involved 
have behind them twenty, thirty, forty, and even fifty years of activity in the Russian revolutionary 
movement. Hardly one of them comes into the category which Lenin often referred to contemptuously as 
"October Bolsheviks, "that is, men who joined the party when it looked safe and was the respectable and 
lucrative thing to do. 

Transportation has suffered heavily from bureaucratic mismanagement and the murderous Stalinist 
purges. Trotsky, who initiated the reconstruction of Soviet transportation for the first time on a planned 
basis, some fifteen years ago, is the world's most noted exile. His closest collaborator at the time, 
Yemshanov, with whom he elaborated the famous plans, and the man who was recently deputy chief of 
the Moscow Donbas Railroad, is now in prison — a wrecker. "In prison also is the old Leningrad 
Bolshevik, V. Zorin, late deputy chief of the Southern Railroad, arrested on the same trumped - up 
charge. In prison also: Mironov, chief of the Tomsk Rail road; Tolmachev, the director of Soviet 
transportation, who was arrested as early as 1932; Zoff, former assistant Commissar of Water Transport, 
prominent in military work in the early years. Shot as "traitors and wreckers "in the January 1937 trial 
were: Ivan Kniazev, an old Social Revolutionary who broke with his party and joined the Bolsheviks 
immediately after the revolution, who collaborated with the late Dzerzhinsky when the latter was 
Commissar of Rail roads, and who was chief of the Southern Railroad at the time of his arrest; Joseph 
Turok, who was chief of the Urals Railroad at the time of his arrest; Leonid Serebriakov, an old railroad 
specialist, who was once Assistant Commissar of Transportation, who represented Russia's interests on 
the Chinese Eastern Railway after his capitulation to Stalin in 19294980, and who was formerly head of 
the Central Administration of Road Transport; Yakob Livshitz, former chief of the Southern Railroad 
and Assistant Commissar of Railroads when he was arrested. Mrachkovsky, who directed the building of 
the strategic railroad from Lake Baikal to the Amur River in 19314982, was shot in the August 1936 trial 
as an "assassin. "The equals of these men will not easily be found, much less manufactured by decree. 

Gregory Sokolnikov, Commissar of Finance from 1921 to 1926 and noted for stabilizing the chervonetz 
(a ten-ruble gold currency), was sentenced to ten years imprisonment at the January 1987 trial. Piatakov, 
chief Commissar of the State Bank in 1918 and its president ten years later, was shot, however, a warning 

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of the fate that still awaits Sokolnikov. Imprisoned are: Preobrazhensky, once a prominent official of the 
government's financial administration; Arkus, once the assistant director of the State Bank; Tumanov, 
manager of the powerful Industrial Bank. Remember that they were imprisoned by Yagoda, who is 
himself now charged with embezzlement! 

One leader in agriculture after another — either in the Right wing or the Left — has fallen under the blows 
of the blind, frightened or vindictive bureaucracy. Shot last year was 1. 1. Reingold, once assistant 
Commissar of Agriculture, in the department of cotton raising; shot less than half a year later was Nikolai 
Muralov, once Deputy Commissar of Agriculture, himself an agronomist, one of the few old Bolsheviks 
who, like Rykov and Shliapnikov, participated directly and actively in the 1905 revolution. Imprisoned 
as scapegoats or for insufficient sycophancy to Stalin are: A. P. Smirnov, Commissar of Agriculture 
since July 1923; his successor, Teodorovich, who once headed the Peasants' International; and Eismont, 
vice-Commissar of Agriculture for Food Sup plies in Russia in 1932 when he was arrested together with 
Tolmachev and scores of other high officials. 

Even worse is the devastation in the military field, where so many tried revolutionists have been replaced 
by braided Marshals and lesser martinets. Gone is Trotsky, organizer and leader of the most remarkable 
army the world has ever seen, first chairman of the Supreme War Council. Gone is the Deputy 
Commissar of War and acting president of the Revolutionary Military Council in 1918, Efraim 
Sklyansky, Trotsky's right-hand man, a revolutionist with exceptional military talents, who was driven 
out of office by intrigues and machinations when Trotsky was forced to surrender his post as Commissar 
of War, and who undoubtedly escaped prison or the firing squad as an "agent of Hitler "only because he 
died in an accident in New York in 1925. Imprisoned now is Shtykhold, secretary to Sklyansky, and one 
of the earliest organizers of the Red Army. Imprisoned are the distinguished military men Gayevsky and 
Vladimir Smirnov-the latter dying, his sight gone, confined in Suzdal penitentiary. In prison, for the third 
time, is Gruenstein, Red Army organizer in the early days, divisional commander, a hard labor prisoner 
under the Czar, with countless years of Bolshevik party membership behind him. In prison are General 
Vitovt Putna, once military representative of the Soviets in Berlin, where he was the Red Army's link 
with the Reichswehr, and late military attache of the embassy in London; General Dmitri Schmidt, who 
was mentioned before; the military commanders Kuzmichev and Esterman. Shot in the January trial was 
N.I. Muralov, former high official of the Military Inspection and for years the commandant of the 
Moscow Military District. Shot in the August trial was Sergei Mrachkovsky, who won the Urals from the 
Whites, and who was commandant of the Urals Military District until 1924. Held in prison is 
Klias-Klavin, Commissar of Defense of Petrograd during the Civil War, whom the government saved 
from death in December, 1922 when he was exchanged, with ninety other communists, for Latvian 
hostages held in Moscow. In prison now is Sokolnikov, once commander of the Eighth Army at the 
southern front. Shot in August as a "traitor "was I. N. Smirnov, commander of the famous Fifth Army 
which took Kazan. Another of the leaders of the Fifth Army in the struggle against Kochak was 
Man-Nevelson, now completing his ninth year in Stalinist prison exile; among his "counter revolutionary 
crimes "is the fact that he is Trotsky's son in-law. In prison, without a trial (virtually all the Trotskyists 
were imprisoned without even a semblance of a trial), is I. T. Smilga, who, together with Tukhachevsky, 
led the Seventh Army against Pilsudski in 1921. 

Finally, in the field of foreign affairs, the change has been striking. Revolutionary Russia's first 
Commissar of Foreign Affairs was Trotsky. He was succeeded by Chicherin, who was finally replaced 
by Litvinov after a wretched intrigue which drove Chicherin to morose, brooding exile in the West. In 
addition to these two, virtually all of Russia's ablest revolutionary diplomats and foreign trade 

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representatives, have been ousted. The heads of Russia's famous delegation to the Genoa Conference in 
1922 were Chicherin, Rakovsky, Preobrazhensky. The last two are today in prison. Rakovsky was the 
Soviet ambassador to London and Paris. Kamenev was chairman of the Russian delegation to London 
before him; then he was ambassador to Italy; now he is a dishonored corpse. Piatakov and Budu Mdivani 
headed the Soviet Trade Mission to Paris at different times; the former has been shot and the latter is in 
prison on charges that mean execution. Also imprisoned are Ufimtsev, the head of the Trade Bureau in 
Vienna; Yuri Kotsiubinsky, who signed the Russo-Polish Treaty of Riga in March, 1921, for the 
Ukrainian Soviets, and who was later secretary of the Soviet legations in Vienna and Warsaw; 
Shliapnikov, who was Krassin's deputy in 1924 when the latter was ambassador to Paris; Sokolnikov, 
who signed the Brest-Litovsk Treaty in 1918 for the Bolsheviks, became ambassador to London years 
later, and who was Assistant Commissar of Foreign Affairs when he was arrested for "treasonable 
relations "with Germany and Japan; exiled to Orenburg is Leonid Gerchik, formerly head of the Trade 
Mission to Persia. One of Russia's most brilliant foreign representatives, A. A. Joffe, first ambassador to 
Germany, then to China, was driven to suicide in 1927 by Stalinist persecutions; his exiled wife, Maria 
Joffe, committed suicide in 1935 in Siberia. 

Who took the places of these men? Instead of Kamenev, Rakovsky and Sokolnikov in London, Stalin has 
Maisky, a former minister of the counter-revolutionary "Samara Government" which the Czechoslovak 
mercenaries established against the Bolsheviks during the civil war. Instead of Rakovsky or Shliapnikov 
in Paris, Stalin has the old Menshevik, Potemkin. The place once occupied by Joffe in Berlin was taken 
by Khinchuk, the anti-Bolshevik chairman of the Moscow Council under Kerensky. Where the executed 
Serebriakov once represented the Soviet Union as head of the Amtorg in New York, it is now represented 
in Washington by Troyanovsky, ex-member of the Menshevik Central Committee who, as its spokesman, 
denounced Lenin and Trotsky as German agents in the Constituent Assembly in 1918.... 

What has happened in the last decade of the Soviet Union's evolution is that the "thin layer" of the Old 
Guard, virtually all of whom fought the Stalinist reaction at one time or another, was finally exterminated 
physically, or itself succumbed to the virus of degeneration. The oft-repeated recantations, and the 
increasingly humiliating genuflections to Stalin, availed them little in the end; they only contributed to 
the destruction of their moral fiber as revolutionists and facilitated their destruction and replacement by 
the ruthless Juggernaut of the bureaucracy. Whatever the final level to which they humbled or felt 
obliged to humble themselves, however wretchedly they behaved as capitulators who clung convulsively 
to a party membership card which no longer meant anything, they symbolized, and many of them even 
represented, poorly or well, a different epoch, a different tradition, a different ideology than that of the 
new ruling caste which could not, and would not, assimilate the old into the new. The period of social 
and political reaction represented by Stalin needed new and different men from those who had 
represented, to any important extent, the period of social and political progress. 

The Stalin bureaucracy which has concentrated all power in its hands is, for the time being, the 
triumphant bearer of a political counter-revolution, which, while it has already infringed upon the 
socio-economic foundations of the new state, namely, the nationalized means of production and 
exchange ~ has not yet replaced them with other foundations - namely, private property in the means of 
production and exchange. The political counter-revolution has thus far mainly affected the political 
super- structure of the state. If its retrogressive force is not to affect fundamentally the economic 
sub-structure, that is, if the nationalized means of production and exchange are to be preserved and 
strengthened and developed systematically in the direction of a socialist economy, the new 
super- structure must be changed. In a word, the political power must be restored to the proletarian 

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masses by overthrowing the bureaucratic machine. Because of the very methods with which it rules, the 
bureaucracy has left no legal and peaceful way open for its removal. 

This is the background of the conclusion arrived at by the author of this book in his latest work, The 
Revolution Betrayed: "The revolution which the bureaucracy is preparing against itself will not be social, 
like the October Revolution of 1917. It is not a question this time of changing the economic foundations 
of society, of replacing certain forms of property with other forms. History has known elsewhere not only 
social revolutions which substituted the bourgeois for the feudal regime, but also political revolutions 
which, with out destroying the economic foundations of society, swept out an old ruling upper crust 
(1880 and 1848 in France, February, 1917 in Russia, etc.). The overthrow of the Bonapartist caste will, 
of course, have deep social consequences, but in itself it will be confined within the limits of political 
revolution." (P.288.) 

It is a political revolution that will not be led by the Old Guard or against it because, with few exceptions, 
it is no longer a factor in Soviet society and politics; what has not been wiped out physically, has 
deteriorated to the point where it cannot fight and need not be fought against. The revolution will not be 
led by or against the Bolshevik Party; it no longer exists as a political party or a living organism — it is 
now a Soviet myth. The revolution will be directed against the new political party that took form in the 
period of the Soviet reaction, the party of the Stalinist bureaucratic machine. It will be composed of the 
advanced elements of the new generation in Russia, for the old is burned out. And because the soldiers of 
the proletarian revolutionary party, which even now exists and is growing in the Soviet Union, will have 
to have the truth as one of their principal weapons, because they will gain strength largely to the extent 
that they are able to break through the thick barrage of lies manufactured by the Stalin School of 
Falsification for the last fifteen years - the contents of the present volume are of immeasurable 
importance. Outlawed, imprisoned, hounded, slandered as German spies, the Bolsheviks in 1917 ended 
by reaching the best elements of the workers and peasants with the truth and with their ideas. Even more 
fiercely persecuted and calumniated today, the proletarian revolutionists two decades later will also end 
by being vindicated by the Russian masses. For falsehood is the weapon of reaction and truth the weapon 
of socialism. In the historic struggle between the two, socialism is invincible. 

MAX SHACHTMAN 
New York May I 1937. 



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Stalin School of Falsification - Chapter 2 



Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

Foreword to the American Edition 

THE MOSCOW TRIALS, which so shocked the world, signify the death agony of Stalinism. A political 
regime constrained to use such methods is doomed. Depending upon external and internal circumstances, 
this agony may endure for a longer or shorter period of time. But no power in the world can any longer 
save Stalin and his system. The Soviet regime will either rid itself of the bureaucratic shell or be sucked 
into the abyss. 

This volume does not deal with the Moscow trials, to which my new book. The Crimes of Stalin, is 
wholly devoted. The Moscow juridical amalgams did not, however, fall from the sky, but were the 
inexorable products of the past, first of all, that is, of the "Stalin school of falsification." The present 
volume will, I believe, prove of assistance to everyone who seeks to understand the ideological and 
political genesis of the Moscow trials, without possessing the knowledge of its genesis, it is in general 
impossible to understand anything in this world, including a frame-up. 

To enter now into a theoretical controversy with the Stalinists would be a complete anachronism. These 
people and I have in mind of course the leaders and not the duped and befuddled followers-have 
completely and decisively broken with Marxism and are veering convulsively from one empirical 
formula to another, accommodating themselves to the needs of the Soviet ruling caste. But it remains an 
incontestable historical fact that the preparation of the bloody judicial frame-ups had its inception in the 
"minor" historical distortions and innocent" falsification of citations. The bureaucracy found it 
indispensably necessary to adapt Bolshevism to its own needs. This could not be done otherwise than by 
corroding the soul of Bolshevism. To the revolutionary essence of Bolshevism the bureaucracy gave the 
name of "Trotskyism." Thus it created the spindle on which to wind in the future its falsifications in all 
the spheres of theory and practice. 

In the political sphere, the initiative in this work — it is impermissible to slur over this in silence — was 
assumed by the deceased Zinoviev, the herald of the struggle against Trotskyism from 1923 to 1925. But 
already at the end of 1925, Zinoviev became frightened by the consequences of his own initiative and 
came over to the ranks of the Opposition. What happened thereafter is only too well known. In the 
economic sphere, the theoretical weapons against Trotskyism were forged by Bukharin: "the 
underestimation of the peasantry," super-industrialization," etc. The fate of Bukharin is no less we!! 
known: the official champion of pure Leninism was soon proclaimed a "bourgeois liberal," was later 
pardoned and is now in jail awaiting trial. 

The most prominent place in the struggle against "Trotskyism" was accorded to historical questions. 



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These involved both the history of the development of Russia as a whole, as well as the history of the 
Bolshevik party and the October Revolution, in particular. The deceased M. A^. Pokrovsky must 
unquestionably be acknowledged as the most authoritative Soviet historian. For a number of yeals, he 
waged, with a vehemence peculiar to him, a struggle against my general views on the history of Russia 
and especially my conception of the October Revolution. Everything written by the other "communist" 
critics on this theme was merely a parroting of the ideas of Pokrovsky. While taking due cognizance of 
the erudition, conscientiousness and talent of the deceased scholar, it is impermissible not to state that 
Pokrovsky failed to master the method of Marxism, and instead of providing an analysis of the continued 
inter-action of all the elements in the historical process, he provided for each occasion mechanistic 
constructions ad hoc, without bothering about their dialectic inter-connection. A few years ago such an 
appraisal sounded like blasphemy. Pokrovsky was the supreme authority of Soviet science. The reign of 
his school was absolute. His textbooks or the textbooks of his disciples circulated in millions of copies. 
Shortly before his death, he was idolized as the lawgiver in the domain of scientific thought. But already 
in 1935, steps were taken suddenly and all the more drastically to review his heritage. In the course of a 
few months, Pokrovsky was completely cashiered, crushed and discredited. He probably escaped the 
prisoners' dock only by his timely demise. It would naturally be absurd to expect that Pokrovsky's school 
has been liquidated in the interests of Marxism. No, Pokrovsky is accused of lacking patriotism, of 
irreverence toward Russia's past, of lacking national pride! 

In what did Stalin's own theoretical work express itself? In nothing. All he did was to exploit his 
fellow-traveler theorists, in the interests of the new ruling caste. He will enter into the annals of the 
history of "thought" only as the organizer of the greatest school of falsification. But for this very reason 
Stalin, more truly and completely than anybody else, expresses the ideological physiognomy of the new 
ruling stratum. Each theoretical formula of anti-Trotskyism (whether it involved Zinoviev, Bukharin or 
Pokrovsky) became at the very next stage an intolerable burden to the new masters of the situation. 
Official "theory" is today transformed into a blank sheet of paper on which the unfortunate theoreticians 
reverently trace the contours of the Stalinist boot. Retreating with seven league strides from its Bolshevik 
past, the bureaucracy at first devoured at each successive stage its own theoreticians. Nowadays that is no 
longer adequate. The bureaucracy cannot be reconciled with any thing but the destruction of the entire 
old generation of Bolsheviks. Such is the consummation of the Soviet Thermidor! 

^ ^ ^ 

This volume contains no little material for the political characterization of the four most prominent men 
in the last two Moscow trials: Zinoviev-Kamenev, on the one hand; Radek-Piatakov on the other. The 
previous aberrations in politics and theory of both these couples act to facilitate in the extreme the 
understanding of their conduct in court, just as, on the other hand, the judicial trials cast a livid light on 
the preceding zigzags of these unfortunate victims of the G.P.U. 

Zinoviev and Kamenev were the initiators of the struggle against me in 1928. Piatakov and Radek-the 
former by three-quarters, the latter by half-stood in the camp of the Opposition. In 1926, Zinoviev and 
Kamenev joined the Opposition; at the same time, Radek and Fiatakov became stauncher in their 
oppositional credo. In November 1927, Zinoviev and Kamenev turned to the path of capitulation. They 
were followed first by Piatakov, and then by Radek. 

The spectre of Trotskyism was first pushed forward by the "triumvirate" (Zinoviev, Kamenev and Stalin) 
in 1924. In 1926, Zinoviev, at a meeting of the Opposition center, told how the "triumvirate" had decided 



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to revive artificially the old, pre-Revolutionary, long-forgotten differences between Lenin and myself in 
order, by using the spectre of Trotskyism as a cover, to wage a struggle against Trotsky. This story of 
Zinoviev is corroborated by the letters of Radek (December 25, 1927) and Piatakov (January 2, 1928) 
which the reader will find in this volume. Both these letters were written in the days when Zinoviev and 
Kamenev, to justify their capitulation, were once again pushing forward the spectre of Trotskyism which 
they themselves had already exposed, while Radek and Piatakov were still seeking to maintain their old 
positions. But in the course of the very next year, Piatakov and after him Radek, too, found themselves 
compelled to resort to the official legend of Trotskyism, so as to prepare and justify their own 
capitulation. In these instances of ideological demoralization was reflected the growing social pressure of 
the bureaucracy. 

The old accusations (" permanent revolution ," "underestimation of the peasantry," etc.) proved altogether 
inadequate for the purpose of crushing the Opposition and, later, of rooting it out physically. There 
ensued an epoch of criminal amalgams, at first petty and partial, and later ever more monstrous. The 
series of recantations of Zinoviev-Kamenev, growing in geometric progression, brought them in August, 
1986 to the prisoners' dock, charged with the assassination of Kirov, i.e., a crime with which they 
certainly had less connection than Stalin himself. In the days of the trial of Zinoviev and Kamenev, 
Radek and Piatakov rushed into print with exceptionally revolting articles in which, pretending a belief in 
the indictment, they demanded death for the accused. But soon thereafter, both of them found themselves 
in the prisoners' dock and were compelled to make confessions infinitely surpassing in monstrosity the 
fictitious crimes of Zinoviev-Kamenev. Conclusion? To play tricks with history is impermissible, 
especially in an epoch of great shocks and convulsions. 

^ ^ ^ 

But how can one believe — naive people will say — that Stalin was capable of such a frightful frame-up, 
that he was able to find for this frame-up a staff of executives, including the accused themselves, and did 
not, at the same time, meet with any resistance either on the part of his closest associates or in the judicial 
apparatus? Only those can be astonished by it who were asleep during the preceding evolution of the 
U.S.S.R. The process of hand-picking and training the apparatus in the spirit of the Stalin school of 
falsification has already endured for fourteen years. Even though in fragmentary form, this book contains 
numerous authentic documents which serve to characterize the different stages of the subjugation of the 
party, the corruption of the apparatus and the poisoning of the conscience of the ruling stratum, in the 
name of a "monolithism" that is false through and through. The innumerable theoretical forgeries and 
historical frame-ups, referred to in these pages, represent in essence nothing but a series of designs and 
sketches for those hellish frescoes with which Stalin has shocked the conscience of the entire world. 
Control Commissions, as far back as 1924, got used to demanding false confessions from former 
Oppositionists. Emulating Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek and Piatakov, many thousands of capitulators got 
used to issuing false statements. The papers carried articles dealing with these statements, which neither 
the authors nor the informed readers believed in for an instant. In each new edition of Lenin's Collected 
Works, the notes were subjected to a drastic revision: the minuses were replaced by pluses, the pluses by 
minuses. In encyclopedias and other reference books, the biographies were made over anew every year 
or so and events were delineated in a new manner — for the sake of exalting some while demoting 
others. Thousands of writers, historians and economists in the U.S.S.R. write by command what they do 
not believe. Professors in universities and school teachers are compelled to change written textbooks in a 
hurry in order to accommodate themselves to the successive stage of the official lie. The spirit of the 
Inquisition thoroughly impregnating the atmosphere of the country feeds, as we have already said, from 

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profound social sources. To justify their privileges the ruling caste perverts the theory which has as its 
aim the elimination of all privileges. The lie serves, there fore, as the fundamental ideological cement of 
the bureaucracy. The more irreconcilable becomes the contradiction between the bureaucracy and the 
people, all the ruder becomes the lie, all the more brazenly is it converted into criminal falsification and 
judicial frame-up. Whoever has not under-stood this inner dialectic of the Stalinist regime will likewise 
fail to understand the Moscow trials. 

The death agony of Stalinism signifies the death agony of the Comintern. This international organization 
is now the main internal obstacle in the path of the emancipation of the working class. The selection of 
people without honor and without conscience has reached the same appalling proportions in the 
Comintern as in the state apparatus of the U.S.S.R. The "leaders" by special appointment change their 
"convictions" upon instructions by telegraph. They organize campaigns of vilification against Zinoviev 
who used to be their infallible authority, against Bukharin whom they used to acclaim as their leader, 
against Radek whom only yesterday they reverently cited in the struggle against Trotskyism. The 
functionaries of the Comintern represent in all relations — theoretical, political and moral — a type 
which is the polar opposite of the revolutionist. They hang on to Stalin, who in turn needs them for the 
maintenance of his tyranny in the U.S.S.R. The Moscow trials reveal to the very bottom the inner 
rottenness of the Comintern. After an initial period of bewilderment and vacillation, its swift 
disintegration is inevitable. It may take place much sooner than the collapse of the Stalinist system in the 
Soviet Union. The Second International has contrived in a number of countries to establish intimate 
connections with the Comintern in the period of its complete degeneration. The collapse of the 
Comintern must inevitably deal a cruel blow to the social democracy. But this does not mean that the 
world proletariat will be left without leadership. At the cost of terrible defeats and sacrifices, the main 
responsibility for which falls upon the Soviet bureaucracy, the proletarian vanguard will find its historic 
road. Ever more confidently will it rally its ranks under the banner of the Fourth International, which is 
already rising today on the shoulders of its predecessors. 

Leon Trotsky 
March 3, 1937. 



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Stalin School of Falsification - Chapter 3 



Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School Of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

Foreword to the Russian Edition 

THERE is hardly a gentle knight left among the world's imperialist politicians or among their 
"democratic" errand boys who has not expressed his indignation at the cynical attitude of the Bolsheviks 
toward the precepts of morality. British Tories who, without blinking an eyelash, put the "Zinoviev 
letter" in circulation, Russian liberals who sought to strangle the revolution by resorting to the most 
contemptible slander against the Bolsheviks, the ruling classes of France - with their Panama scandal, 
their Dreyfus affair, their Oustric affair, and their leading newspaper, Le Temps[l} - all these gentlemen 
feel themselves called upon to indict the immorality of the Bolsheviks, contrasting it with lofty 
exemplars of loyalty and rectitude. 

In point of fact, the lie in politics, as in daily life, serves as a function of the class structure of society. 
The oppressors erect the lie into a system of befuddling the masses in order to maintain their rule. On the 
part of the oppressed the lie is a defensive weapon of weakness. Revolution explodes the social lie. 
Revolution speaks the truth. Revolution begins by giving things and social relationships their real names. 

In the eyes of the practitioners of the imperialist lie, the revolutionary Marxists appear as a party of 
"demagogues." Yet Marx, who devoted his entire life to the study of profound social processes and who 
made a microscopic analysis of the cell of the social organism, abhorred demagogy as a medical scientist 
abhors the sideshow incantation of a medicine-man. 

Lenin, with his profound revolutionary realism, exemplifies a political type which is the polar opposite of 
the demagogue. Indeed, what is demagogy? It is a deliberate play with sham values in politics, the 
dissemination of false promises and the solace of non-existent blessings. Is not the church then one of the 
fundamental institutions of demagogy ~ the church which, in exchange for a wax candle, offers eternal 
beatitude, all extras included? Meanwhile, the church, as Lloyd George has correctly and aptly said, is 
the central power plant, feeding all the parties of law and order. But even the purely political programs of 
capitalistic parties are permeated through and through with the spirit of deliberate deception. Whatever 
destroys their traditional lie is looked upon as demagogy by the champions of law and order. Revolution, 
which is the most ruthless exposure of the contradictions of society and all of its falsity, seems to the 
upholders of the existing order the very spawn of demagogy. Thus, in the conscious attitude of the 
minority which builds its welfare on the suppression and the spiritual enslavement of the majority, all 
relationships are stood on their heads. 

But revolution itself is neither a single nor a harmonious process. Revolution is full of contradictions. It 
unfolds only by taking one step back after taking two steps forward. Revolution in its own turn sweeps 

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into power a new ruling stratum which strives to secure its privileged position and is apt to view itself, 
not as the temporary historical vehicle of revolution, but rather as its completion and its crowning work. 
The epochs of ideological reaction which, more than once in history, have run parallel with economic 
successes, engender the need for revising revolutionary ideas and methods; and create their own 
conventional lie. Such is the content underlying the falsification of history against which this book is 
directed. 

Powerless to conduct policies in the spirit of the party's traditions, the epigones have busied themselves 
with altering the traditions to fit the requirements of their own policies. 

The so-called struggle against "Trotskyism" grew out of the bureaucratic reaction against the October 
Revolution and out of the urge for national tranquillity. That the past was falsified and altered is not at all 
due to personal intrigue, nor is it an outgrowth of clique squabbles, as commonly depicted by the banal 
bourgeois historiographers. It is due to the workings of a profound political process, with social roots of 
its own. Members of the American bourgeoisie, many of whom are the descendants of British convicts, 
having acquired the requisite number of millions, feel the urge to equip them selves with a respectable 
genealogy, drawn preferably from the kings of Scotland. The Soviet bureaucracy, likewise, after raising 
itself above the revolutionary class, could not help experiencing the need, in proportion as it entrenched 
its independent positions, for such an ideology as would justify its exceptional position and insure it 
against dissatisfaction from below. It is for this reason that such colossal sweep has been attained by the 
alteration, perversion and outright counterfeiting of the revolutionary past, still so recent. How- ever, the 
contradictions of the economic process and of the world situation do not allow the bureaucracy to rest 
peace fully on the laurels of national socialism. The convulsions of the official policy obstruct the 
erection of a new theory as well as of a new tradition. With every major historical zigzag, they are 
compelled to revamp history all over again. Thus far we have had three large-scale alterations. 

The first was effected in the course of 1923-1926 by the so-called "Old Guard," the immutable, 
unwavering and inflexible disciples of Lenin. Let us recall the staff of the basic kernel of the Old Guard: 
Zinoviev, Kamenev, Stalin, Rykov, Tomsky, Bukharin, Kuibyshev. The history of the party was altered 
to suit the requirements of that period, principally by Zinoviev. 

In 1926, a new opposition appeared on the scene: Zinoviev, Kamenev, Krupskaya, Sokolnikov. Once 
again history was reviewed, this time by the Stalin-Bukharin bloc, with the "review" so calculated as to 
maintain the principal course of annihilating "Trotskyism," while demoting retroactively one section of 
the "Old Guard" headed by Zinoviev and Kamenev, and at the same time exalting another section headed 
by Stalin and Bukharin. During that period, Bukharin functioned as the theoretician. Yaroslavsky made 
his debut as historian. But for the time being he remained the historian of the bloc between the Centrists 
and the Rights. Bukharin still remained the "best theoretician" after Lenin. Rykov was still maintained as 
an old and reliable Bolshevik. 

In 1929, after the Stalinists broke with the Rights, theory and history underwent reconstruction for the 
third time. Stalin steps to the fore as a theoretician. Yaroslavsky becomes a specialist in the sphere of 
reviewing and correcting history. The theorem is within limits that are strictly con fined. It must be 
proved that there existed no such thing in the past as the "Old Guard." But Stalin did exist. In addition to 
Stalin there existed a number of mere opportunists and strikebreakers, who for some unknown reason 
directed the Central Committee of the Bolshevik party. 

Every new variant of the past served not only to supplement but also to destroy the preceding variant. As 

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a result, the official history of the party and of the revolution represents, at the present time, a scroll on 
which various scribes have written as the spirit moved them-each scribe very much unconcerned with 
what another had written or, in part, one and the same scribe very little concerned with his writings of 
yesterday. 

To decipher the successively accumulated falsifications of party history is to undertake an instructive 
labor sui generis (of its own kind). The task we set ourselves is more modest. We propose to restore the 
most fundamental facts and documents which underlie the attempt to counterpoise Trotskyism to 
Leninism. Let us not forget that in all of its variations and permutations, the epigone ideology has always 
sought to maintain itself on this fundamental antithesis: Trotskyism versus Leninism. 

The main document in the present volume is my so-called "Letter to the Istpart" [Bureau of Party 
History]. It was written in 1927 in reply to an Itspart questionnaire. It circulated from hand to hand in the 
U.S.S.R. in hundreds of copies, either re-typed or copied by hand. Single copies, often inexact, filtered 
abroad. Translations of them appeared in several languages. After the author's expulsion from the 
U.S.S.R., a fuller text of the "Letter" was published in German, French, English, Spanish, Chinese and 
other languages, but until now it has not appeared in the original-that is, in the Russian language. 

Contained in this volume are three speeches by the author, delivered before the highest bodies of the 
C.P.S.U. They relate to the same question of the distortion of the past for the purpose of justifying new 
political tendencies. These speeches are also printed for the first time in the Russian language. The 
necessary explanations are given in the text of this book. 

Two chapters: "A Contribution to a Political Biography of Stalin" and "Stalin and the Red Army" have 
already appeared in the Bulletin of the Russian Opposition. The latter chapter ("Stalin and the Red 
Army") was written by N. Markin, to whom I herewith express my gratitude. 

The book includes, in addition, two documents of great historical significance: the minutes of the 
so-called "March Conference" of the Bolsheviks in the year 1917, and the recorded minutes of an 
exceptionally important session of the Petrograd Committee of the party, November 1, 1917, in which 
Lenin and other members of the Central Committee participated. 

The March Conference was attended by Bolshevik delegates who arrived for the All-Russian Congress of 
the Soviets. 

The political condition of the upper stratum of the Bolshevik party, especially of Stalin and Co., on the 
eve of Lenin's arrival in Russia, is characterized with exceptional vividness by the minutes of that 
Conference. The minutes are vivid but far from flattering. That is precisely why they are hidden from the 
party to this very day. This document is printed here for the first time and is thereby preserved from 
certain destruction. 

The history of the recorded minutes of the November 1 session of the Petrograd Committee is contained 
in the text of the book. Here again we have before us a document hidden from the party with deliberate 
malice. The galley proofs bear the notation: "Junk this." By a fortunate accident, the galley proof with the 
corrections and notations came into our possession. Another precious portion of the history of the 
October Revolution was thereby saved from being "junked." 



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Thus the book as a whole comprises a collection of historical documents. But from the recent past, which 
it encompasses, there run living threads to the present. In that sense the book is not at all a volume for the 
archives; it is rather a weapon in the political struggle for the theory of Marx, for the policies of Lenin - 
against the epigones. 

Leon Trotsky 
KADlKOlSeptember 13, 193L 



NOTES: 

1. The Panama scandal occurred in France towards the end of the last century. Having plundered the 
savings of countless small investors, the Society for the Building of the Panama Canal sought permission 
for a lottery loan from the Chamber of Deputies in order to save itself from bankruptcy. Permission was 
granted, but only after the bribing of cabinet ministers and some 150 deputies. After numerous 
beginnings at an investigation which never went through due to the bribing of the judges, the scandal was 
finally disclosed- involving the reactionary followers of General Boulanger, who were the Society's 
directors, as well as their political opponents, the bourgeois republicans in government office. ~ Alfred 
Dreyfus, Lieutenant of the General Staff, was the victim of a frame-up which made French history. In 
1894, he was tried, condemned, and banished to Devil's Island on the charge of espionage for Germany. 
The perpetrators of the frame-up were the military clique and the reactionary politicians, who made 
Dreyfus the symbol of the Jewish financial interests and on that basis, conducted a violent anti-Semitic 
and anti- democratic campaign. The revelation of the frame-up by the "revisionists" (those for "revising" 
the Dreyfus trial), among them Emile Zola, made public the depravity of wide sections of the French 
ruling class. — The Oustric affair became public at the end of 1930, when the banks of the 
swindler- financier of that name collapsed. Resulting investigations revealed the intimate connection 
between Oustric and leading statesmen and government officials of the day, who had secretly and 
handsomely profited from his swindles. The cabinet of Andre Tardieu, who had been connected with 
Oustric, as had numerous associates, fell on December 4, 1930, as a result of the scandal. - Le Temps, 
roughly the equivalent of the New York or London Times, is a leading reactionary of Paris, and almost 
always the semi official voice of the government. It is owned by the Comite des Forges (the steel trust of 
France) and associated interests. Its lofty moral probity may be judged from such facts as that its founder. 
Senator Adrien Hebrard, received 1,769,415 francs in blackmail money for his silence about the Panama 
Scandal, and that it was secretly and lavishly subsidized (together with most of the other "reputable" 
French periodicals) with vast sums by the Czarist Government, through its agent, Raffalovich, secret 
counselor of the Russian Ministry of Finances at Paris, for years before the war. [BACK TO TEXT1 



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Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School Of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

Letter to the Bureau of Party History (Part 1) 

Concerning The Falsification Of The History Of The October Revolution, The History Of 
The Revolution And The History Of The Party. 

Esteemed Comrades: 

You have sent me a very detailed printed questionnaire Concerning my participation in the October 
Revolution, and you request an answer. I doubt if I could add much to what is printed in various 
documents, speeches, articles and books, my own among them. But I permit myself to ask you: What is 
the sense of questioning me about my participation in the October Revolution when the entire official 
machine, yours along with the rest, is occupied with concealing, destroying, or at least distorting every 
trace of that participation? 

Hundreds of comrades have asked me again and again why I continue silent in the face of a perfectly 
outrageous falsification, directed against me, of the history of the October Revolution and the history of 
our party. I certainly do not intend here to exhaust the theme of these falsifications. That would require 
several volumes. But in answer to your questionnaire, I will indicate a few dozen examples of this 
conscious and spiteful distortion of the past, which is now organized on an enormous scale, sustained by 
the authority of all kinds of public institutions, and even carried into the textbooks. 

THE WAR AND MY ARRIVAL IN PETROGRAD (MAY 1917) 

1. 1 arrived in Petrograd from a Canadian prison at the beginning of May 1917, on the second day after 
the entry of the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionists into the coalition government. 

The organs of the Istpart, like many others, are trying at this late date to describe my work during the war 
as bordering on social-patriotism. In this attempt they "forget" that a collection of my writings during the 
war (War and Revolution) was published in many editions during Lenin's life, was studied in the party 
schools, and appeared in foreign translation among the publications of the Communist International. 

You are trying to deceive the younger generation in regard to my line during the war — to deceive those 
who do not know that for my revolutionary internationalist struggle during the war, I was condemned in 
my absence to be imprisoned in Germany as early as the end of 1914. This was for my German book. 
The War and the International I was deported from France where I worked with the future founders of 
the Communist party; I was arrested in Spain where I had formed connections with the future 
Communists; I was deported from Spain to the United States; carried on revolutionary internationalist 

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work in New York; participated with Bolsheviks in the editorship of the newspaper, Novy Mir, and there 
gave a Leninist evaluation of the first stages of the February Revolution. Returning from America to 
Russia, I was removed from the steamship by the British authorities, spent a month in a concentration 
camp in Canada along with six or eight hundred German sailors whom I recruited on the side of 
Liebknecht and Lenin. (Many of them took part afterward in the civil war in Germany and I receive 
letters from them to this day.) 

2. On the subject of an English dispatch as to the causes of my arrest in Canada, Lenin's Pravda wrote as 
follows: 

"Is it possible to believe for a minute in the validity of the dispatch received by the English government 
stating that Trotsky, the former chairman of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies in St. Petersburg in 1905- a 
revolutionist devoted for decades to the service of the revolution-that this man had any connection with a 
plan subsidized by the 'German government'. This is clearly a monstrous and unscrupulous slander 
against a revolutionist!" (Pravda, No. 84, April 16, 1917.) 

How fresh these words sound now in this epoch of contemptible slanders against the Opposition, 
differing in no essential from the slanders against the Bolsheviks in 1917 

3. A note on page 482, Volume XIV of the Coflected Works of Lenin, published in 1921, reads: 

"From the beginning of the imperialist war, [Trotsky] took a clear-cut internationalist position." 

Such comments, and still more categorical ones, could be adduced to any number. The writers in our 
entire party press, both Russian and foreign, have pointed out hundreds of times in reviewing my book. 
War and Revolution, that, considering my work during the war as a whole, one must recognize and 
understand that my differences with Lenin were of a subordinate character and that my fundamental line 
was revolutionary and continually brought me nearer to Bolshevism- and this not only in words, but in 
deeds. 

4. You are trying after the event to assemble quotations of certain isolated, sharply polemical remarks of 
Lenin's against me, among them some that were made during the war. Lenin could never endure any 
half- statements or unclearness. He was right in dealing double and triple blows when a political thought 
seemed to him incomplete or equivocal. But a polemical blow struck at a given moment is one thing, the 
appraisal of a man's political line as a whole is another. 

In 1918, in America, a certain F. published a collection of articles [21 by Lenin and me during the war 
period, among them my articles on the then controversial question of the United States of Europe. How 
did Lenin react to that? He wrote: the American comrade, F., was wholly right in publishing a big 
volume containing a series of articles by Trotsky and me and thus giving a handbook of the history of the 
Russian Revolution." (Works, Vol XVII, p.96, Russ. ed.) 

5. 1 will not touch upon the conduct of the majority of my present accusers during the war and at the 
beginning of the February Revolution. Here one could relate many interesting things as to the 
Skvortsov-Stepanovs, Yaroslavskys, Voroshilovs, Ordjonikidzes and many, many others. [31 1 confine 
myself to a few words concerning comrade Melnichansky who has attempted in the press to bear false 
witness in regard to my line in May- June 1917. 

Everybody in America knew Melnichansky as a Menshevik. In the struggle of the Bolsheviks and 



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revolutionary inter nationalists against social-patriotism and Centrism, Melnichansky took no part 
whatsoever. He side-stepped all such questions. He did the same thing in the Canadian camp where he 
(like many others) landed accidentally along with me and Chudnovsky. In making our plans for future 
work, Chudnovsky and I took the precaution not to impart them to Melnichansky. But since we had to 
live side by side in the barracks, Chudnovsky and I decided to put a point-blank question to 
Melnichansky: With whom was he going to work in Russia, with the Mensheviks or with the 
Bolsheviks? To Melnichansky' s credit it is necessary to state that he answered: "With the Bolsheviks." 
Only after that did Chudnovsky and I begin to talk with him as with a co-thinker. 

Read over what Melnichansky wrote in 1924 and in 1927. Anybody who knew Melnichansky in America 
could only laugh at it. But why go back to America? You have only to listen to any current speech of 
Melnichansky in order to recognize the opportunist office-holder to whom Purcellism is much closer than 
Leninism. 

6. On the arrival of our group in Petrograd, comrade Fedorov, then a member of the Bolshevik Central 
Committee, welcomed us in its name at the Finland Station and in his speech of welcome posed sharply 
the question of the next stages of the revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat and the socialist course 
of development. The reply I gave was in full accord with Lenin's April theses which, for me, flowed 
unfailingly from the theory of the permanent revolution.I41 As Comrade Fedorov told me subsequently, 
the fundamental point of his speech had been formulated by him in agreement with Lenin or, more 
accurately, at Lenin's direction. It goes without saying that Lenin considered this question decisive with 
regard to the possibility of our collaboration. 

7. 1 did not enter the Bolshevik organization immediately upon my arrival from Canada. Why? Was it 
because I had disagreements? You are trying to concoct them now in retrospect. Whoever lived through 
the year 1917 as a member of the central kernel of the Bolsheviks knows that there was never a hint of 
any disagreement between Lenin and me from the very first day. On my arrival in Petrograd-or rather at 
the Finland Station-I learned from the comrades sent to meet me that there existed in Petrograd an 
organization of revolutionary internationalists (the so-called "Mezhrayontsi "\5]) which was postponing 
the question of fusion with the Bolsheviks; in addition, certain of the leading members of this 
organization linked their decision on this question with my arrival. Among the personnel of the 
"Mezhrayontsi" organization, which comprised about 4,000 Petrograd workers, were Uritsky, A. A. 
Joffe, Lunacharsky, Yurenev, Karakhan, Vladimirov, Manuilsky, Pozern, Litkens and others. 

Here is the characterization of the "Mezhrayontsi" organization given in a note (pp. 488/) in Volume XIV 
of Lenin's Collected Works: 

"On the war question the "Mezhrayontsi" held an internationalist position and in their tactics were close 
to the Bolsheviks." 

From the earliest days of my arrival, I stated first to comrade Kamenev, afterward to the editorial hoard 
of Pravda, in the presence of Lenin, Zinoviev and Kamenev, that I was ready to join the Bolshevik 
organization immediately in view of the absence of any disagreements whatever but that it was necessary 
to decide the question of the quickest possible way of attracting the "Mezhrayontsi" organization into the 
party. I remember that some one of those present raised the question of how I thought the fusion should 
be carried out (what member of the "Mezhrayontsi" should go into the editorial board ofPravda, who 
into the Central Committee, etc.). I answered that for me that question had no political importance what 
so ever in view of the absence of any disagreements. 

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Among the membership of the "Mezhrayontsi" organization there were elements which tried to impede 
the fusion, advancing this or that condition, etc. (Yurenev and, in part, Manuilsky). Between the 
Petersburg Committee of the party and the "Mezhrayontsi" organization there had piled up, as always in 
such circumstances, old grudges, lack of confidence, etc. That and that alone caused the delay in our 
fusion until July. 

8. Comrade Raskolnikov has covered no little paper in recent times with attempts to contrast my line in 
the year 1917 with Lenin's. It is too wearisome a task to adduce such examples, especially since his 
writing does not differ in the least from all the other falsifications of the same kind. 

It might prove more fruitful, therefore, to quote some words which this same Raskolnikoy wrote about 
that period somewhat earlier: 

"The echoes of past disagreements during the pre-war period had completely disappeared. No differences 
existed between the tactical line of Lenin and Trotsky. The fusion, already observable during the war, 
was completely and definitely achieved from the moment of Leon Davidovich's [Trotsky's] return to 
Russia. From his first public speech all of us old Leninists felt that he was ours." ("In Kerensky's Jail," 
Proletarskaya Revolutsia, No. 10 [22], 1923, pp. 150/.) 

Those words were written not in order to prove something or to refute something but just to tell what 
was. Later on Raskolnikov showed that he also knows how to tell what was not. In republishing his 
articles issued by the organs of the Istpart, Raskolnikov meticulously removed from them what was, in 
order to replace it with what was not. 

Maybe it is not worth while to dwell upon comrade Raskolnikov but this example is rather striking. 

In his review of the third volume of my Collected Works in Krasnaya Nov., No.7-8, 1924, pp. 395-401, 
Raskolnikov asks: 

"And what was the position of Trotsky himself in 1917 ?" and answers: 

"Comrade Trotsky still considered himself a member of the same general party with the Mensheviks, 
Tseretelli and Skobelev." 

And further: 

"Comrade Trotsky had not yet clarified his attitude towards Bolshevism and Menshevism. At that time 
comrade Trotsky still occupied a vacillating, indefinite, straddling position." 

You might ask how these really impudent assertions can be reconciled with the words of this same 
Raskolnikov quoted above: "The echoes of past disagreements during the pre war period had completely 
disappeared." 

If Trotsky had not defined his attitude towards Bolshevism and Menshevism, how did it happen that "all 
of us old Leninists felt that he was ours"? 

But that is not all. In the article of the same Raskolnikoy entitled "July Days," Proletarskaya Revolutsia, 
No.5 (17), 1928, pp. 71f, we read: 

"Leon Davidovich was not formally at that time a member of our party but as a matter of fact he worked 



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continuously within it from the day of his arrival from America. At any rate, immediately after his first 
speech in the Soviet, we all looked upon him as one of our party leaders." 

That seems clear. It seems to be beyond false interpretation. But never fear. Sufficient unto the day is the 
evil thereof. And how great is the "evil" of our day — an evil systematically organized and reinforced by 
official command and circular letter. 

In order that the conduct of Raskolnikov, characteristic not of him personally but of our entire present 
system of leadership and education, may appear in its full splendor, I must cite a longer paragraph from 
his article "In Kerensky's Prison." Here is what he says: 

"Trotsky's attitude to Vladimir Ilyich [Lenin] was one of enormous respect. He esteemed Lenin higher 
than all contemporaries whom he had met in Russia and abroad. In the tone in which Trotsky spoke of 
Lenin you felt the devotion of a disciple. At that time Lenin had given thirty years' service to the 
proletariat, Trotsky twenty." 

Then come the lines already quoted above: 

"The echoes of past disagreements of the pre-war period had completely disappeared. . . . All of us old 
Leninists felt that he was ours" 

This testimony of Raskolnikov as to Trotsky's attitude toward Lenin does not, of course, deter 
Raskolnikov from quoting the "Letter of Trotsky to Chkheidze,"r61 which was extracted from the garbage 
heap of emigre' squabbles for the education of the younger members of the party. 

It should be added that Raskolnikov met me often in the line of duty in the summer months of 1917. He 
frequently drove me to Kronstadt; he turned to me many times for counsel; held long conversations with 
me in prison, and so forth. 

His personal reminiscences represent in this sense a valuable testimonial proof, whereas his later 
"corrections" are nothing more than the work of a falsifier fulfilling his task under orders. 

Before parting with Raskolnikov, let us hear how he portrayed in his reminiscences the reading by the 
investigator of the testimony of Ermolenko in regard to German gold,!?! etc.: 

"During the reading of his testimony we made, from time to time, ironical comments hut when the 
dispassionate voice of the investigator arrived at the name, so dear to us, of comrade Lenin, Trotsky 
could not restrain himself. He struck the table with his fist, rose to his full height, and announced with 
indignation that he refused to listen to this vile and lying testimony. Unable to restrain our wrath in the 
face of this unconcealed falsification, we all, to the last man, hotly supported comrade Trotsky." 

Wrath in the face of "unconcealed falsification" is a perfectly understandable feeling. But leaving aside 
the trivial falsifications of Raskolnikov himself (also none too well concealed), let me ask: What is the 
attitude of the present Raskolnikov, having graduated from the Stalin school, to the latest creations a' la 
Ermolenko in regard to the Wrangel[81 officer and the counter-revolutionary conspiracy of the Left 
Opposition? 

FROM MAY TO OCTOBER 1917 

9. Many of the documents issued by the Bolsheviks in May, June and July 1917 were written by me or 



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with my editorial participation. To this series belong, for instance, the "Declaration of the Bolshevik 
Fraction of the Soviet Congress as to the Proposed Advance on the Front" (First Congress of the 
Soviets), the letter to the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets from the Central Committee of the 
Bolshevik party in the days of the June demonstration, and others. I have chanced upon quite a number of 
Bolshevik resolutions of this period which I wrote, or participated in writing. In all my speeches at all 
meetings, as is well known to all the comrades, I identified myself with the Bolsheviks. 

10. One of the "Marxian historians" of the new style attempted not long ago to discover disagreements 
between Lenin and me on the subject of the July days. Everyone tries to contribute his mite, hoping to 
receive it back a hundred fold. You have to overcome a feeling of disgust even to refute such 
falsifications. I will not cite personal reminiscences. I limit myself to documents. In my declaration to the 
Provisional Government, I wrote at that time: 

"1. 1 share the principled position of Lenin, Zinoviev and Kamenev, and I have developed it in my 
journal, Vperllod, and in general in all my public speeches.... 

"2. My not participating in the editorship of Pravda and not entering the Bolshevik organization 
are not to be explained by political differences but are due to conditions in our party history which 
have now lost all significance." (Collected WorkSy Vol.111, Part I, pp. 165f.) 

11. In connection with the July days, the Social Revolutionary-Menshevik Presidium convoked a plenary 
session of the Central Executive Committee. The Bolshevik fraction of the plenum invited me at that 
difficult moment to make the report on the question of the new situation and the problems of the party. 
That was before my formal union with the party and notwithstanding the fact that Stalin, for example, 
was then in Petrograd. The "Marxian historians" of the new style did not yet then exist, and the 
assembled Bolsheviks unanimously approved the fundamental ideas of my report on the July days and 
the tasks of the party. There is published testimony on this point, particularly in the memoirs of N. I. 
Muralov. 

12. Lenin, as is well known, did not suffer from benevolent confidence in people when it was a question 
of ideological line or of political conduct in difficult circumstances, and such benevolence was 
particularly foreign to him in relation to revolutionists who had stood in a preceding period outside the 
ranks of the Bolshevik party. It was precisely the July days which broke down the last remnants of the 
old dividing lines. In his letter to the Central Committee on the slate of Bolshevik candidates for the 
Constituent Assembly, Vladimir Ilyich wrote: 

"We cannot possibly permit such an immoderate number of candidates from people who have hardly 
been tested and who have just recently joined the party (such as, U. Larin). 

We must have special reconsideration and correction of the slate. 

"It goes without saying that . .. nobody would oppose such a nomination, for example, as that of L. D. 
Trotsky, for, in the first place, Trotsky immediately upon his arrival, took the position of an 
internationalist; in the second place, he fought among the 'MezhrayontsV for fusion with the Bolsheviks; 
and finally, during the onerous July days he proved himself both equal to the task and a devoted adherent 
of the party of the revolutionary proletariat. Obviously that can not be said for a majority of the recent 
members of the party who appear on the slate." (The First Legal Central Committee of the Bolsheviks in 
1917, Leningrad topar?, pp. 305f.) 

13. The question of our attitude to the Pre-ParliamentM was discussed in Lenin's absence. I appeared as 



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the reporter for those Bolsheviks who favored boycotting the Pre-Parhament. The majority of the 
Bolshevik faction of the Democratic Conference voted, as is well known, against the boycott. Lenin 
came out decisively in support of the minority. Here is what he wrote to the Central Committee on that 
score: 

"We must boycott the Pre-Parliament. We must go to the Soviet of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' 
Deputies; we must go to the trade unions-go to the masses in general. We must summon them to struggle. 
We must give them the correct and clear slogan: Disperse the Bonapartist band of Kerensky together 
with the bogus Pre-Parliament, with its Tseretelli-Bulyginite Duma. The Mensheviks and Social 
Revolutionists did not accept our compromise even after the Kornilov events, our proposal of a peaceful 
transfer of power to the Soviets (in which, at that time, we did not yet have a majority). They sank again 
into the swamp of dirty and infamous bargains with the Cadets. Down with the Mensheviks and Social 
Revolutionists! Ruthless struggle against them! Ruthlessly drive them out of all revolutionary 
organizations! No negotiations, no conferences with tho^so friends of the Kishkins, friends of Kornilov's 
landlords and capitalists ! 

"Saturday, September 22. 

"Trotsky was for the boycott. Bravo, Comrade Trotsky! 

"Boycottism was beaten in the Bolshevik faction attending the Democratic Conference. Long live the 
boycott!" (Prolelarskaya Revolutsia, No. 3, 1924.) 

THE OCTOBER INSURRECTION 

14. As to my participation in the October Revolution- in the notes on p.482 in Vol. XIV of the Collected 
Works of Lenin, you read: 

"After the majority of the Petrograd Soviet passed into the hands of the Bolsheviks, [Trotsky] was 
elected its chair man and in that position organized and led the insurrection of October 25." 

How much is true here and how much false, let the Istpart decide — if not the present one then some 
future one. Lately, Stalin, at any rate, has categorically denied the truth of this assertion. Thus: 

"I have to say that comrade Trotsky played no particular role in the October insurrection and could not 
do so; that, being chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, he merely fulfilled the will of the corresponding 
party authority which guided his every step." 

And further: 

"Comrade Trotsky played no particular role in the party or the October insurrection and could not do so, 
being a man comparatively new to our party in the October period." 

(J. Stalin: Trotskyism or Leninism, pp. 68f.) 

To be sure, in giving this testimony, Stalin forgot what he himself said on the 6th of November 1918; 
that is, on the first anniversary of the revolution, when facts and events were still too fresh in the minds 
of all. Even then, Stalin had already begun that work in relation to me which he has now developed on 
such a grand scale. But he was then compelled to conduct it far more cautiously and underhandedly than 
he is doing now. Here is what he wrote then in Pravda (No. 241) under the title, "The Role of the Most 



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Eminent Party Leaders": 

"All the work of practical organization of the insurrection was conducted under the immediate leadership 
of the chair-man of the Petrograd Soviet, Trotsky. It is possible to declare with certainty that the swift 
passing of the garrison to the side of the Soviet and the bold execution of the work of the Military 
Revolutionary Committee, the party owes principally and above all to comrade Trotsky." 

These words, written by no means for the purpose of laudatory exaggeration — on the contrary, Stalin's 
goal was then wholly different: with his article he wanted to "warn" against exaggerating Trotsky's role 
(this is really why the article was written) — these words sound like an absolutely incredible panegyric 
today, coming from the lips of Stalin. But at that time it was impossible to express oneself otherwise. It 
was said long ago that a truthful man has this advantage, that even with a bad memory he never 
contradicts himself, while a disloyal, unscrupulous and dishonest man has always to remember what he 
said in the past, in order not to shame himself. 

15. Stalin, with the help of the Yaroslavskys, is trying to construct a new history of the organization of 
the October insurrection, basing himself on the fact that the party created a "practical center for the 
organizational leadership of the insurrection," of which, if you please, Trotsky was not a member. 
Neither was Lenin a member of that committee. That fact alone demonstrates that the committee had 
only a subordinate organizational significance. It played no independent role whatever. The legend about 
this committee has been created today for the simple reason that Stalin was a member of it. Here is the 
membership: Sverdlov, Stalin, Dzerzhinsky, Bubnov, Uritsky. 

However unpleasant it is to dig into rubbish, it seems necessary for me, as a fairly close participant in 
and witness of the events of that time, to testify as follows: 

The role of Lenin, of course, needs no illumination. Sverdlov I often met and I often turned to him for 
counsel and for people to help me. Comrade Kamenev, who, as is well known, held then a special 
position JlO] the incorrectness of which he himself has long ago acknowledged, took, nevertheless, a 
most active part in the events of the insurrection. The decisive night, from the 25th to the 26th, Kamenev 
and I spent together in the quarters of the Military Revolutionary Committee, answering questions and 
giving orders by telephone. But stretch my memory as I will, I cannot answer the question in just what 
consisted, during those decisive days, the role of Stalin. It never once happened that I turned to him for 
advice or cooperation. He never showed the slightest initiative. He never advanced a single independent 
proposal. This fact no "Marxian historian" of the new style can alter. 

16. (I add this note on November 2, 1927.) Stalin and Yaroslavsky, as I said above, have wasted much 
effort these last months in proving that the military revolutionary center created by the Central 
Committee, consisting of Sverdlov, Stalin, Bubnov, Uritsky and Dzerzhinsky, was, allegedly, the director 
of the whole course of the insurrection. Stalin has emphasized, in every way he could, the fact that 
Trotsky was not a member of that center. But alas! through sheer carelessness on the part of Stalin's 
historians, in Pravda of Nov. 2, 1927 — that is, after the present letter was written — there appeared an 
accurate excerpt from the minutes of the Central Committee for the 16th (29th) of October 1917: 

"The Central Committee created a military revolutionary center with the following members: Sverdlov, 
Stalin, Bubnov, Uritsky and Dzerzhinsky. This center is to be a constituent part of the Revolutionary 
Soviet Committee. '' 



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The Revolutionary Soviet Committee is none other than the Military Revolutionary Committee created 
by the Petrograd Soviet. No other Soviet organ for the leadership of the insurrection existed. Thus, these 
five comrades, designated by the Central Committee, were required to supplement the staff of that same 
Military Revolutionary Committee of which Trotsky was chairman. Superfluous, it would seem, for 
Trotsky to be introduced a second time into the staff of an organization of which he was already 
chairman! How hard it is, after all, to correct history after the event! 

HISTORY OF THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION 

17. At Brest, I wrote a short outline of the October Revolution. This little book went through a large 
number of editions in various languages. Nobody ever told me that there is a flagrant omission in my 
book; namely, that it nowhere points out the chief guide of the insurrection "the military revolutionary 
center," of which Stalin and Bubnov were members. If I was so poorly informed of the history of the 
October insurrection, why did not somebody enlighten me? Why was my book studied with impunity in 
all the party schools during the early years of the revolution? 

But that is not all. Even in the year 1922, the Organization Bureau of the party seemed to think that I 
understood fairly well the history of the October Revolution. Here is a small but eloquent confirmation of 
that: 

"No.14802 

Moscow, May 24, 1922. 

"To Comrade Trotsky: 

"Excerpt from the minutes of the session of the Organization Bureau of the Central Committee for May 
22, 1922,No.21. 

"Commission comrade Yakovlev by the first of October to compile, under the editorship of comrade 
Trotsky, a text book of the October Revolution. 

"Secretary of the Second "Department of Propaganda (Signature)" 

That was in May 1922. Both my book about the October Revolution, as well as my book about the year 
1905, having appeared before that time in many editions, must have been well known to the Organization 
Bureau-which was already at that period headed by Stalin. Nevertheless, the Organization Bureau 
deemed it necessary to assign me the task of editing the textbook of the history of the October 
Revolution. How is that? Evidently the eyes of Stalin and the Stalinists were epened to "Trotskyism" 
only after the eyes of Lenin had closed forever. 

LOST DOCUMENTS 

18. It was already after the October Revolution that upon the insistence of the Right wing (Kamenev, 
Rykov, Lunacharsky and others) negotiations were carried on with the Conciliationists regarding a 
coalition socialist government. As one of the conditions, the Conciliationists demanded the exclusion 
from the government of Lenin and Trotsky. The Rights were inclined to accept that condition. The 
question was considered at the session of November 1 (14). This is what the minutes state: 

"Session of the 1st (14th) of November 1917. 



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"Ultimatum of the majority of the Central Committee to the minority. ... It is proposed to exclude Lenin 
and Trotsky. This is a proposal to decapitate our party and we do not accept it." 

That very day, that is, on the 1st (14th) of November, Lenin spoke on this issue at the meeting of the 
Petrograd Committee. The minutes of the Petrograd Committee meetings for 1917 were published on the 
tenth anniversary of October. Originally the minutes of this session of the 1st (14th) of November 1917, 
were likewise included in that edition. In the first proof of the table of contents, this session is indicated. 
But afterwards, under orders from above, the minutes of November 1 (14) were deleted and concealed 
from the party. [1111 It is easy to understand why. On the question of compromise, Lenin spoke to the 
party as follows: 

"As for a compromise-I cannot even speak about that seriously. Trotsky said long ago that unification is 
impossible. Trotsky understood this and from that time on there has been no better Bolshevik. " 

The speech ends with the slogan: "No compromise! A homogeneous Bolshevik government!" 

19. It is worth noting that these same minutes of the session of the Petrograd Committee clearly show 
what was Lenin's attitude to the question of discipline when discipline was being used to cover a patently 
opportunistic line. After the report of comrade Fenigstein, Lenin announced: 

"If you want a split, go ahead. If you get the majority, take power in the Central Executive Committee 
and carry on. But we'll go to the sailors. " 

It was precisely by means of this bold, decisive, irreconcilable way of putting the question that Leom 
saved the party from a split. 

Iron discipline, yes, but on the basis of a revolutionary line. On the fourth of April, Lenin said (at the 
so-called March Party Conference)[l21 

"Even our Bolsheviks show confidence in the Provisional] Government. That can be explained only by 
intoxication incidental to revolution. That is the death of socialism. You, comrades, place confidence in 
the government. If that's your position, our ways part." 

And further: 

"I hear that in Russia there is a trend toward unification. Unification with the defensists [l31 — that is 
betrayal of socialism. I think it would be better to stand alone like Liebknecht — one against a hundred 
and ten. "[141 

20. Why did Lenin pose this question so sharply-one against a hundred and ten? Because in the March 
Conference of 1917, semi-defensist and semi-coalitionist tendencies were very strong. 

At that conference, Stalin supported the resolution of the Krasnoyarsk Soviet of Deputies which 

advocated: 

"Support of the Provisional Government in its activities, only in so far as it follows a course of satisfying 

the demands of the working class and the revolutionary peasantry in the revolution that is taking place." 

More than that, Stalin stood for unification with Tseretelli. Here is the verbatim excerpt from the minutes 

of the conference: 

''Order of the day: Tseretelli's proposal for unification. 



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"STALIN:We ought to go. It is necessary to define our proposal as to the terms of unification. Unification 
is possible along the lines of Zimmerwald-Kienthal." [l51 

When certain participants of the conference made objections to the effect that such a unification would 
be heterogeneous, Stalin replied: 

"There is no use running ahead and anticipating disagreements. There is no party life without 
disagreements. We will live down trivial disagreements within the party." 

Disagreements with Tseretelli, Stalin considered "trivial." In his attitude toward the followers of 
Tseretelli, Stalin was for a broad democracy: "There is no party life without disagreements." 

21. Now, comrade directors of the IStpart of the Central Committee, permit me to ask you: Why have 
the minutes of the March 1917 Party Conference never yet seen the light of day? You broadcast 
questionnaires with innumerable graphs and rubrics. You collect every kind of triviality, often the most 
insignificant. Why do you keep on hiding the minutes of the March Conference which have tremendous 
significance for the history of the party? Those minutes reveal the state of mind of the leading elements 
of the party on the eve of Lenin's return to Russia. In the Secretariat of the Central Committee and in the 
Presidium of the Central Control Commission, I have repeatedly asked: Why does the IStpart conceal 
from the party a document of such extra ordinary importance? The document is known to you. It is in 
your possession. You do not publish it for the simple reason that it cruelly reflects upon the political 
physiognomy of Stalin at the end of March and the beginning of April- that is to say, in that period when 
Stalin independently tried to work out a political line. 

22. In his same speech at the Conference of April 4, Lenin said: 

"Pravda demands from the government that it renounce annexations. . . . Nonsense! Flagrant mockery of. 

The minutes are not edited. There are omissions and unfinished sentences in them. But the general sense 
and the general trend of the speech are absolutely clear. One of the editors of Pravda was Stalin. In 
Pravda Stalin wrote semi defensist articles and supported the Provisional Government in so far as." With 
petty reservations, Stalin welcomed the manifesto of Kerensky and Tseretelli to all the nations-a lying, 
social-patriotic document which aroused nothing but indignation in Lenin. 

That is why, comrades of the Istpart, and that is the only reason why, you do not publish the minutes of 
the Party Conference of March 1917 but hide them from the party. 

23. 1 cited above the speech of Lenin at the session of the Petrograd Committee, November 1 (14). 
Where are the minutes of that meeting published? Nowhere. Why? Because you have forbidden it. There 
has just appeared a collection of the minutes of the first legal Petrograd Committee of 1917. The minutes 
of the session of November 1 (14) were originally included in this collection and were indicated in the 
table of contents as it was first set up. But afterward, as I said, at the order of the Central Istpart, the 
minutes were deleted from the book with this remarkable explanation that "obviously" the speech of 
Lenin was distorted by the secretary in his notes. What does this "obvious" distortion consist in? It 
consists in this: That Lenin's speech ruthlessly refutes the false assertions of the present historical school 
of Stalin Yaroslavsky concerning Trotsky. Everyone who knows Lenin's oratorical style will 
acknowledge without hesitation the authenticity of his recorded phrases. Behind the words of Lenin 
about conciliationism, behind his threat- "We will go to the sailors' — you feel the living Lenin of those 



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days. You hide him from the party. Why? Because of his comment on Trotsky. Only that! 

You hide the minutes of the March 1917 Conference because they compromise Stalin. You bide the 
minutes of the session of the Petrograd Committee only because they obstruct your work of falsification 
against Trotsky. 

24. Permit me to touch in passing upon an episode concerning comrade Rykov. 

Many comrades were surprised at the publication, in the notes of the Lenin Institute, of an article in 
which Lenin wrote several unpleasant lines in regard to Rykov. Here is what he wrote: 

"Rabochaya Gazeta, an organ of Menshevik Ministerialists, is trying to cast aspersions upon us because 
the Okhrana£161 in 1911 arrested a Bolshevik conciliator, Rykov, in order to give 'free' activity, 'on the 
eve of the elections to the Fourth Duma' (Robochaya Gazeta especially emphasizes this) to the 
Bolsheviks of our party." 

Thus, in 1911, Lenin numbered Rykov among the non-party Bolsheviks. How did these lines happen to 
see the light of day? Ordinarily, in these times, only those harsh comments that bear upon Oppositionists 
are quoted from the works of Lenin. About the representatives of the present majority, it is permitted to 
quote only praise (provided there is any). How then did the above lines get into print? Everybody is 
explaining this fact in exactly the same way: Stalin's historians consider necessary (so soon! so soon!) a 
complete objectivity - in regard to Rykov. [171 



NOTES: 

2. The "American comrade, F." referred to here is Louis C. Fraina. The collection of articles appeared 
under the title. The Proletarian Revolution in Russia, by N. Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Edited with an 
Introduction, Notes and Supplementary Chapters by Louis C. Fraina. New York, The Communist Press, 
Publishers. 1918. [BACK TO TEXT1 

3. Most of the self-styled "Old Bolsheviks" who sat in judgment upon Trotsky played a lamentable role 
during the war and especially upon the outbreak of the revolution of February (March), 1917. Thus, the 
Bolshevik Duma fraction and their guide, Kamenev, upon being tried for treason when war broke out, 
repudiated Lenin's theses on the war which were introduced in evidence against them and which called 
for the transformation of the imperialist war into a civil war. After the February revolution and before 
Lenin's arrival in Russia, most of the Bolshevik leaders merely adopted a radical democratic, but by no 
means proletarian, revolutionary position. Many, like Stalin, inclined strongly to defense of the 
fatherland (under Kerensky) in the war and to political support of the government. Interesting details are 
given in Leon Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution, Vol.1, Chaps. XV and XVL [BACK TO TEXT] 

4. Lenin's theses, drawn up immediately after his arrival in Russia in April, 1917, were aimed to orient 
the Bolshevik party towards leading the workers and peasants to the seizure of power independently of 
the bourgeoisie. For the relations between Lenin's theses and Trotsky's theory of the permanent 
revolution, see the latter's The Permanent Revolution, New York, 1931, and his The History of the 
Russian Revolution, Vol. Ill, Appendix IIL [BACK TO TEXT] 

5. The German edition of Lenin's collected works describes the Mezhrayontsi as follows in an annotation 



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(p. 573ff.) to the first book of Vol. XX, published in 1928: " 'Inter-District Organization of the United 
Social Democrats,' called 'Mezhrayontsi' in brief. — The organization arose in Petrograd during the war 
and existed until the Sixth Congress of the Bolsheviks in July 1917, when it fused with the Bolshevik 
party. The organization officially bore an extra- factional character; up to February Revolution it 
numbered some 200 organized workers; it distributed leaflets and also published two numbers of an 
illegal periodical, Vperyod [Forward]. In its attitude towards the war, the 'Mezhrayontsi' defended an 
internationalist standpoint and in its tactics it stood close to the Bolsheviks. In the summer of 1917, 
Trotsky, Lunacharsky, Volodarsky, Uritsky, and others belonged to the 'Mezhrayontsi' organization. The 
conference of the 'Mezhrayontsi' at which the question of unification was dealt with took place on May 
23 (10), 1917. The Bolshevik Central Committee was represented at the conference by Lenin, Zinoviev 
and Kamenev. The conference rejected the resolution proposed by Lenin and adopted the Trotsky 
resolution." [BACK TO TEXT1 

6. A letter written by Trotsky from Vienna, on April 1, 1918, to N. S. Chkheidze, then chairman of the 
Menshevik fraction of the Duma, in which Lenin is sharply attacked for what Trotsky considered his 
divisive activities in the Bolshevik organ, which had been launched by Lenin in that period under a 
name, Pravda [Truth], similar to the name of the popular revolutionary organ founded shortly before by 
Trotsky in Vienna. In the same letter, Trotsky warns Chkheidze against the liquidationist tendencies of 
the (Menshevik) parliamentary organ, Luch [Ray]. As was the case with many, if not moat of the 
political documents, and even private letters, of that period of intense factional struggle, the language 
employed by Trotsky in the letter Chkheidze was extremely sharp. [BACK TO TEXT] 

7. Corporal Ermolenko, who was used in the reactionary period of the "July days" in 1917, for the 
purpose of helping to frame-up Lenin and Trotsky as agents of the Kaiser's General Staff. Ermo lenko 
testified that the German General Staff had given him a sum of money for its agents, the Ukrainian 
separatists and Lenin, so that the latter might continue their agitation for the separation of the Ukraine 
from Russia. Among the other tasks of "Lenin and his followers" as "agents of the General Staff," 
according to Ermolenko, were espionage, blowing up bridges, etc. The aim of the whole frame-up, as 
perpetrated by Kerensky and the Czarist prosecutors and military men who continued to function under 
the Provisional Government after the February, 1917, Revolution, was to discredit the revolutionary 
Bolshevik leaders as common criminals and paid foieign spies. The whole miserable affair was speedily 
exposed by the Bolsheviks, but not without the story that Lenin and Trotsky were "German agents" 
continuing to be disseminated from interested quarters for a long time afterwards. It is interesting to note 
the similarity in patterns between Keren sky's frame-up of the Bolsheviks in 1917 and Stalin's frame-up 
of Trotsky and other defendants in the Zinoviev-Kamenev-Radek Piatakov trials of 1936-1937. [BACK 
TO TEXT] 

8. The " Wrangel officer" was an agent introduced by the G.P.U. into the ranks of the Left Opposition 
towards the end of 1927. In September of that year, the G.P.U. announced that a raid on a number of 
party members' homes had revealed the existence of a secret printing press and also of a conspiracy of 
the Trotskyist Opposition with military men, including a former officer of the army of General Baron 
Peter Wrangel, for the purpose of over turning the Soviet government. This abominable story acquired 
wide currency, despite the fact that it was officially established, only a few days after the G.P.U. raids, 
that the "secret printing press" consisted of a mimeographing machine and a typewriter on which the 
documents of the Opposition had been copied, and that the "Wrangel officer," whose name was never 
made public, had been sent by the G.P.U. as a provocateur to some of the Oppositionists, or more 



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accurately, to men claiming sympathy with the Opposition. For full details of the Wrangel officer 
frame-up, see The New Internationai, Vol. I, No.4, November, ]984, p. 120ff. [BACK TO TEXT1 

9. The question of the "Pre-Parliament" marked an important stage in the development of the Bolsheviks 
towards the seizure of power. The "Pre-Parliament," or Council of the Republic, was set up by the 
Democratic Conference which came together during the days of the struggle against the Kornilov 
uprising. The "Pre Parliament" was conceived by the bourgeois and social demo cratic elements not so 
much as a preliminary to the Constituent Assembly whose convocation was constantly postponed, and in 
reality as a substitute for it, but above all for the purpose of distracting attention from the Soviets as 
instruments of power The Right wing of the Bolsheviks, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Nogin and others, were just 
as much in favor of BcJshevik participation in the "Pre-Parliament" as they had been of staying in the 
Demo cratic Conference, which Lenin had urged that the Bolsheviks quit in protest. The Right wing 
argued that the Bolsheviks should stay in the "Pre-Parliament" as its radical section, just as revolutionists 
participate in any regular parliamentary body. The Left wing, headed by Lenin and Trotsky (the former 
still isa hiding, the latter openly active), urged the boycott of the "Pre-Parliament" as a final 
demonstration of the Bolshevik rupture with all forms of bourgeois and coalitionist rule and of their 
orientation towards the seizure of power by the Soviets. In the meeting of the Bolshevik fraction of the 
Democratic Conference, Trotsky's proposal for a boycott was at first voted down. Lenin cordially and 
vigorously endorsed Trotsky's position and, under their joint pressure, combined with such instructive 
events as the growth of Bolshevik influence in the Soviets throughout the coun try, the vote was finally 
altered and a majority expressed itself for the boycott. On October 28, the Bolsheviks withdrew from the 
"Pre-Parliament" after the reading of a declaration by Trot sky in their name, and six days later the 
Petrograd Soviet created the Military Revolutionary Committee which guided the insur rection that took 
place on November 7, 1917. [BACK TO TEXT] 

10. The "special position" of Kamenev, shared by Zinoviev, and by the Right wing of the Bolshevik 
party which they represented in the period prior to the Bolshevik insurrection, consisted essen tially in 
opposition to Lenin's orientation, set forth in the famous April Theses, towards the overthrow of the 
bourgeois government and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the form of a Soviet 
republic. Kamenev and Stalin followed a policy of compromise with the bourgeois government prior to 
Lenin's return to Russia; Kamenev opposed the April Theses; Kamenev opposed withdrawal from the 
Democratic Conference and boycott of the "Pre-Parliament"; together with Zinoviev and others, he 
opposed the November 7 insurrection of the Bolsheviks; finally, with a whole group of other party 
leaders, he resigned from the Bolshevik government because Lenin and Trotsky carried their proposal to 
vote down the Right wing demand for the inclusion of all the other Soviet parties (i.e., the Mensheviks 
and Social Revolutionaries) in the government. [BACK TO TEXT] 

11. For the full text of the minutes of the November 14, 1917 meeting of the Petrograd Committee, see p. 
107ff. [BACKT0TEXT1 

12. The records of the March Party Conference are contained in an appendix to this volume, beginning 
with page 281. The con ference started under the political direction of Stalin and Kam enev, and took a 
position which was sharply condemned by Lenin, who arrived towards the end to present his own 
position, formulated in what came to be known as the April Theses. [BACK TO TEXT] 

13. The "defensists" or "Oboronstsi" were those who stood for the defense of the fatherland. Specifically, 
in the situation existing after the overthrow of Czarism and the establishment of the Provisional 

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Govrnment, "defensists" was the name applied to those who, whatever their position may have been on 
this question dur ing the reign of the Czar, were now in favor of continuing the war against Germany and 
defending the fatherland on the ground that it was now revolutionary and deserving of defense. The 
"defensists" included the leaders of the Menshevik and Social Revolutionary Parties, as well as 
Plekhanov and his small Yed in'tvo [Unity] group. Lenin, Trotsky and most of the other Bolsheviks, 
especially after the return to Russia of these two leaders, called for an end to the war, for peace with 
Germany- a general peace if possible and a separate peace otherwise-and were vigorously opposed to any 
defense of the fatherland under a capitalist government (Lvov or Kerensky) which continued to pursue 
imperialist aims. [BACK TO TEXT] 

14. In the German Reichstag meeting in December, 1914, at which the second war credit demanded by 
the government was being considered, Karl Liebknecht finally broke the discipline of the social 
democratic fraction to which he belonged and voted against the entire Reichstag membership, including 
the members of his own party. Refusing to cast his vote for the credit demanded, he made a flaming 
attack upon the government and the war as imperialistic. He was subsequently expelled from the party 
fraction. Other members, who were also opposed to vot ing the war credits, nevertheless submitted to the 
decisions of the patriotic majority and voted with it in the plenary sessions of the Reichstag. [BACK TO 
TEXT] 

15. Zimmerwald and Kienthal are the two Swiss towns where the most important conferences of the 
anti-war socialists were held during the World War. The Zimmerwald Conference, in Septem ber, 1915, 
was initiated by the Swiss and Italian Socialist parties, and was attended by their representatives as well 
as by delegates from other anti-war parties and groups, including the Bolsheviks, who organized the 
Zimmerwald Left out of the extreme radical section of the conference. The Zimmerwald Manifesto 
condemned the war as imperialistic on both sides, rejected civil peace and voting for war credits, and 
called for a struggle against the war and for socialism. The defeated Left wing resolution sharply 
denounced the social patriots and the International Bureau and called openly for civil war in place of 
civil peace. The Kienthal Conference, in April, 1916, was a more radical gathering, in which the 
influence of Lenin and the Left wing showed its growth over that of the Centrists. The International 
Socialist Bureau was attacked for the first time and the "utopian demands of bourgeois and socialist 
pacifism" rejected. Lenin continued to urge the formation of a new International. His views on "the lines 
of Zimmerwald- Kienthal" as a basis for unification of the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, as proposed by 
Stalin early in 1917, at a time when Lenin was fighting for a break with the Centrists who dominated the 
Zimmerwald Commission, may be deduced from Lenin's letter of June 17, 1917, to Karl Radek for the 
Foreign Bureau of the Central Committee (Vorovsky, Ganetzky, Radek) which was then located in 
Stockholm: "If it is true that the miserable Grimm, who has become quite confused (we were right in 
never trusting this ministerial good-for-nothing), has handed over all the Zimmerwald affairs to the Left 
Swedes, and that the latter are going to convene a Zimmerwald Conference in a few days, then I should 
like-speaking for myself personally (I write this solely on my own account)- urgently to warn against 
getting involved in Zimmerwald. 'It would be a good thing, however, to capture the Zimmerwald 
International now,' said Gregory [Zinoviev] today. In my opinion, this is an arch- opportunist and 
harmful tactic. 'Capture' Zimmerwald? This means taking over the dead weight of the Italian Party (the 
Kautskyans and pacifists), the Swiss Greulich and Co., the Ameri can Socialist Party (still worse!), the 
various Pelusos, the Longuetists and the like. This would mean to throw all our prin ciples over-board, to 
forget everything that we have written and spoken against the Center, to become entangled and to make 
our selves ridiculous. No, if the Left Swedes take Zimmerwald into their hands and if they become 



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desirous of running into error, then we must submit to them an ultimatum: either they declare, on the first 
day of the Zimmerwald Conference, Zimmerwald to be dissolved and found the Third International, or 
we shall go. In this way or another, we must at any price bury the dirty (very "Grimmish"), Zimmerwald 
and found a real Third International only of Lefts, only against the Kaatskyans. Better a little fish than a 
big black beetle (International Press Correspondence, Vol. XII, No.51, p. 1107.) [BACK TO TEXT] 

16. The Okhrana was the Czarist Secret Police, one of whose prin cipal tasks was the hounding of the 
revolufionary movements. [BACK TO TEXT1 

17. Rykov, together with Bukharin and Tomsky, was part of the ruling machine at the time Trotsky wrote 
his letter to the Bureau of Party History. Together with the Stalin faction, this trio car ried through the 
crushing and, finally, the expulsion of the Left Oppositionists in the party. Trotsky was the first, 
however, to mark off the political line of the Right wing trio from that of the Stalinist bureaucratic 
Center, and to foretell, years in advance, the break-up of the Right-Center bloc into its constituent parts. 
The quotation from Lenin against Rykov, which Trotsky refers to here, was only one part of the 
"ideological preparation" in Stalin's campaign to liquidate his Right wing allies in the strug gle against 
"Trotskyism." Early in 1929, this campaign began to take on flesh and blood and by the end of the year, 
Rykov had been removed as Chairman of the Council of People's Commis sars, Tomsky as head of the 
trade unions, and Bukharin as the head of the Comintern and editor of Pravda -- all on charges of being 
the channels through which the capitalist restoration, i.e., the counter-revolution, was expressing itself in 
the country. The trio thereupon capitulated to the Stalin machine and continued to capitulate regularly, 
upon command, until 1986. Then, Tomsky was driven to suicide or was killed for alleged complicity in 
the alleged assassination plot against Kirov and others (Zinoviev Kamenev trial); and Rykov and 
Bukharin were finally arrrested on similar charges. [BACK TO TEXT] 



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Stalin School of Falsification - Chapter 5 

Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School Of Falsification 

Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

Letter to the Bureau of Party History (Part 2) 

CONCERNING YAROSLAVSKY 



25. Nine-tenths of his slanders and falsifications, Yaroslavsky dedicates to the author of these lines. It 
would be hard to imagine lies more confused and at the same time more spiteful! Do not make the 
mistake of thinking, however, that Yaroslavsky always wrote in this way. No, he wrote quite differently. 
It was just as pedestrian, it was in just as bad taste, but to exactly the opposite effect. As late as the spring 
of 1923, — Yaroslavsky devoted an article to the beginnings of the political-literary activity of the author 
of these lines. The article is a tumultuous panegyric, unbearable to read. It requires an effort to quote 
from it. But it can't he helped. In his character of inquisitor, Yaroslavsky takes a voluptuous pleasure in 
bringing face to face on the witness stand communists guilty of distributing the Testament of Lenin, the 
letters of Lenin on the national question, and other criminal documents in which Lenin dared to criticize 
Stalin. Let us bring Yaroslavsky face to face with himself. 

"The brilliant literary-publicist activity of comrade Trotsky [so Yaroslavsky wrote in 1928] gained him 
the worldwide renown of 'Prince of Pamphleteers.' The English writer, Bernard Shaw, described him 
thus. Whoever has followed his activity during the course of a quarter of a century, cannot but be 
convinced that this talent of the pamphleteer and polemicist developed, grew and blossomed with 
especial brilliancy during the years of our proletarian revolution. But even at the dawn of his activity, it 
was observable that we had before us an endowment most profound. All his news paper articles were 
saturated with inspiration; they all par took of imagery, color, although they had to be written in the vise 
of the censorship of Czarist absolutism which mutilated the bold thought and the bold form of everyone 
who wished to escape from the grip of those jaws and raise himself above the common level. But so great 
were the ripening under ground forces, so strongly was felt the beating of the heart of the awakening 
people, so sharp were the developing contradictions, that all the censors in the world could not stamp out 
the creative power of such a shining individual personality as was already in those days the figure of L. 
D. Trotsky. 

"Probably many have seen the quite widely distributed photograph of the youth Trotsky when he was 
first sentenced to exile in Siberia-that boisterous head of hair, those characteristic lips and lofty brow. 
Under that head of hair, under that lofty brow, was boiling even then a turbulent stream of Images, 
thoughts, moods-sometimes diverting comrade Trot sky a little from the broad road of history, 
compelling him sometimes to choose too long a detour, or, on the other hand, to cut his way fearlessly 

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through where it was impossible to go through. But in all this questing we had before us a man 
profoundly dedicated to revolution, a man born to the role of tribune, with a tongue sharply whetted and 
flexible as steel, slaying his enemies, and a pen scattering in handfuls like artistic pearls the riches of his 
mind." 

And further: 

"The articles at our disposal embrace a period of more than two years — from Oct. 15, 1900 to Sept. 12, 
1902. The Siberian comrades read with delight these brilliant articles and awaited their appearance with 
impatience. Only a few knew who was the author, and those knowing Trotsky never guessed in those 
days that he would be one of the recognized leaders of the most revolutionary army and of the greatest 
revolution in the world. '' 

And finally the conclusion: 

"His protest against the pessimism of the demagnetized Russian intelligentsia [Ahem!] comrade Trotsky 
established later. Not in words, but in deeds he established it, shoulder to shoulder with the revolutionary 
proletariat of the great proletarian revolution. For this, great powers were needed. The Siberian village 
did not destroy in him these powers; it only further convinced him of the necessity of radically breaking, 
to the foundation, that whole social order which made possible the facts described by him." (Sibirskye 
Ogni, Nos. 1-2, Jan.-April 1923.) 

Although in some of his recent articles comrade Yaroslavsky has made a turn of 180 degrees, we must 
grant that in one respect he remains faithfully the same: He is equally unbearable in slander and in praise. 

CONCERNING OLMINSEY 

26. Among the exposers of " Trotskyism, "Olminsky, as is known, has occupied a fairly prominent place. 
He has been especially zealous, I remember, on the subject of my book, 1905, which appeared originally 
in the German language. But Olminsky also has had two opinions upon this subject: one in the days of 
Lenin; another in the days of Stalin. 

In October 1921, somebody raised the question of the publication of my book, 7905, by the Istpart. 
Olminsky wrote me on that subject the following letter: 

"Dear Leon Davidovitch: 

"The Istpart will be delighted, of course, to publish your book in Russian but the question is: To whom 
shall the translation be entrusted? You can't let the first man you meet translate a book by Trotsky! All 
the beauty and individuality of the style would be lost. Maybe you could squeeze an hour a day from 
your duties of state importance for this work — also, by the way, of state importance and dictate the text 
in Russian to a typist. 

"Another question: Why not begin to prepare a complete collection of your writings? We could easily 
commission some one to take charge of that. It is high time it was done. The new generation, not 
knowing, as it should, the history of the party, unacquainted with old and recent writings of the leaders, 
will always be getting off the track. I am returning the book in the hope that it soon comes back to the 
Istpart in a Russian text. 

"With best wishes. 



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"M. Olminsky. 

'VctoberlV, 192L" 

That is how Olminsky wrote at the end of 1921 — that is to say, long after the controversies over the 
Brest-Litovsk peace and over the trade unions, controversies to which Olminsky and Co. are now trying 
to impart such an exaggerated importance. At the end of 1921, Olminsky considered the publication of 
7905 a work of "state importance. "Olminsky was the initiator of the publication of my complete works, 
which he considered necessary for the education of party members. In the autumn of 1921, Olminsky 
was not a child. He knew the past. My disagreements with Bolshevism were known to him better than to 
anybody else. He himself had engaged in polemics with me in the old days. All this did not prevent him, 
in the autumn of 1921, from insisting upon the publication of a complete collection of my works in the 
interests of educating the party youth. Was Olminsky perhaps a "Trotskyist"in 1921? 

A WORD OR TWO CONCERNING LUNACHARSKY 

27. Lunacharsky also now appears among the "exposers"of the Opposition. Trailing the others, he 
accuses us of pessimism and lack of faith. This role is especially becoming to Lunacharsky. 

Trailing the others, Lunacharsky occupies himself not only with contrasting "Trotskyism"and Leninism 
but also supports in a very slightly disguised form-every kind of insinuation. 

Like certain others, Lunacharsky knows how to write on one and the same question, both for and against. 
In 1923, he issued a little book. Revolutionary Silhouettes. There is a chapter in that book dedicated to 
me. I will not quote this chapter for the oratorical exaggerations of its praise. I will quote merely two 
passages in which Lunacharsky speaks of my attitude toward Lenin: 

"Trotsky is a prickly person, imperious. Only in his relations with Lenin, after their fusion, Trotsky 
always showed, and still shows, a tender and touching yieldingness, and with a modesty characteristic of 
the truly great, recognizes Lenin's superior authority. "(P. 25.) 

And a few pages earlier: 

"When Lenin lay wounded mortally, as we feared, no one expressed our feeling about him better than 
Trotsky. In the terrible storm of world events, Trotsky, the other leader of the Russian Revolution, by no 
means inclined to sentimentalism, said: 'When you think that Lenin might die, it seems as if all of our 
lives were useless, and you want to stop living'." (Ibid.y p. 18.) 

What sort of people are these, who know how to write this thing or that depending on who gives them 
orders-history or the Secretariat! 

THE BREST-LITOVSK AND THE TRADE UNION CONTROVERSY MARTINOVISM IN THE 

LIMELIGHT 

28. What I have demonstrated above, with examples taken from the year 1917, could be carried through 
all the years that followed. I do not mean that there were no disagreements between Lenin and me. There 
were. The disagreements on the question of the Brest-Litovsk peace [181 lasted several weeks and 
assumed a sharp character for several days. 

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my alleged "underestimation of the peasantry"is utterly ridiculous, and at best is an attempt to hang 
Bukharin's position onto me-a position with which I had nothing in common. Not for a moment did I 
suppose that in 1917-1918 it was possible to rouse the peasant masses for a revolutionary war. In 
estimating the moods of the peasant and labor masses after the imperialist war, I was wholly in 
agreement with Lenin. If I stood, at the time, for postponing as long as possible the moment of 
capitulation to HohenzoUern, it was not for the purpose of calling forth a revolutionary war but in order 
to arouse the workers of Germany and Austria-Hungary to as great a revolutionary activity as possible. 
The decision to announce a state of war as terminated, without signing a forced peace, was dictated by 
the intention of testing in action whether or not HohenzoUern was still able to wage war against the 
revolution. This decision was adopted by the majority of our Central Committee and approved by the 
majority of the fraction of the AU-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets. Lenin regarded 
that decision as the lesser evil since a very considerable section of the party leadership was for the 
Bukharinist "revolutionary war,"ignoring not only the condition of the peasants but also of the labor 
masses. The signing of the peace treaty with HohenzoUern exhausted entirely my episodic differences 
with Lenin on that question, and our work proceeded in complete harmony. Bukharin, on the other hand, 
developed his Brest-Litovsk differences with Lenin into an entire system of "Left Communism, "with 
which I had nothing in common. 

Many wiseacres seize every propitious occasion to scintillate on the subject of my slogan: No peace-no 
war. It obviously appears to them in contradiction with the very nature of things. Yet, between classes, as 
well as between states, relationships of "no peace-no war"are not at all rare. One need only recall that 
several months after Brest-Litovsk, when the revolutionary situation in Germany had completely defined 
itself, we announced that we were breaking the Brest-Litovsk peace without in any way resuming 
hostilities against Germany. With the countries of the Entente, in the course of the first few years of the 
revolution, our relationships were those of "no peace-no war. "As a matter of fact, the same type of 
relationship exists between us and England now (with the Tories in power). Throughout the 
Brest-Litovsk negotiations, the whole question was whether or not, at the beginning of 1918, a 
revolutionary situation had sufficiently matured in Germany to enable us, without continuing the war (we 
had no army!), to refrain from signing a peace. Experience showed that such a situation did not exist as 
yet. 

The meaningless "reviews "beginning with 1923 have completely distorted the sense of the Brest-Litovsk 
controversy. All the fictions concerning my line during the epoch of Brest-Litovsk are discussed in detail 
and refuted on the basis of the incontrovertible documents in the notes to Volume XVII of my Collected 
Work: 

The Brest-Litovsk disagreements, as I have already stated, did not leave the shadow of any bitterness in 
my personal relations with Lenin. Just a few days after the signing of the peace, I was placed-on the 
motion of Vladimir Ilyich-at the head of the military work. 

29. The conflict on the trade union question was sharper and more protracted. The new theoretician of 
Stalinism, the Menshevik, Martinov, who came to us on the wave of the N.E.P.,£191 has described the 
disagreement on the trade union question as a disagreement on the question of the N.E.P. On this subject, 
Martinov wrote in 1923: 

"L. Trotsky in 1905 argued more logically and consistently than either the Bolsheviks or the Mensheviks. 
But the flaw in his argument lay in that he was 'too consistent.' The picture which he drew very 



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accurately anticipated the Bolshevik dictatorship during the first three years of the October Revolution 
which, as is well known, arrived in a blind alley, tearing the proletariat away from the peasantry, by 
reason of which the Bolshevik party was compelled to make a long votroat.'' (Krasnaya Nov, No. 2, 1923, 
p.262.) 

Before the N.E.P., 'Trotskyism"reigned. Bolshevism began only with the New Economic Policy. It is 
noteworthy that Martinov reasoned in exactly the same way about the revolution of 1905! 

According to him, in October, November and December of 1905 — that is, in the period of the highest 
upsurge of the revolution — "Trotskyism" reigned. The real Marxian policy began only after the 
crushing of the Moscow insurrection — approximately, say, with the elections to the first State Duma. 
Martinov now contrasts Bolshevism with "Trotskyism"along the self-same line according to which 
twenty years ago he contrasted Menshevism with "Trotskyism. "And these writings are passing for 
Marxism and are being fed to the young "theoreticians "of the party. 

30. In his Testament, Lenin refers to the trade union discussion not in order to represent it as a 
controversy called forth by my widely publicized "underestimation of the peasantry. "No. Lenin speaks of 
this discussion as of a controversy over the People's Commissariat of Means and Communication, and he 
chides me not for "underestimating the peasantry" but for a "disposition to be far too much attracted by 
the purely administrative side of affairs. "I think that these words quite correctly characterize the root of 
that controversy. 

War Communism had exhausted itself. Agriculture and with it everything else had arrived in a blind 
alley. Industry was disintegrating. The trade unions had become agitational and recruiting organizations 
which increasingly lost their independence. The crisis of the trade unions was by no means a "crisis of 
growth"; it was a crisis of the whole system of War Communism. There was no passage out of the blind 
alley without the introduction of the N.E.P. Proposals sponsored by me to harness the trade union 
apparatus to the administrative system of economic management (my "disposition to be far too much 
attracted by the purely administrative side of affairs"), did not point the way out. But neither did the trade 
union resolution presented by the "Ten" (Lenin, Zinoviev and others) because the trade unions as 
defenders of the material and cultural interests of the working class and as a school of communism were 
losing their ground under conditions of an economic impasse. 

Under the blows of the Kronstadt uprising J201 a new economic orientation of the party was effected, 
which opened up altogether new perspectives for the trade unions as well. But it is significant that at the 
Tenth Congress, at which the party unanimously approved the initial foundations of the N.E.P. , the trade 
union resolution was not in harmony with these foundations and retained all of its internal contradictions. 
This became evident within a few months. The trade union resolution which was adopted by the Tenth 
Congress had to be radically changed without waiting for the Eleventh Congress. The new resolution, 
drafted by Lenin, which brought the work of the trade unions under the new conditions created by the 
N.E.P., was unanimously adopted. 

To study the trade union discussion without any relation to the question of the turn of our entire 
economic policy at the time means even now, seven years later, not to understand the meaning of that 
discussion. This lack of understanding is precisely the source of all efforts to foist the "underestimation 
of the peasantry"upon me when, indeed, at the time of the trade union discussion, it was I who proposed 
the slogan: Industry must turn its face to the village! 



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More consistent falsifiers attempt to represent the matter as if I were opposed to the N.E.P. But 
irrefutable facts and documents prove that as early as the time of the Ninth Congress I raised time and 
again the question of the necessity to pass from the food levy to taxes and, within certain limits, to the 
commodity forms of circulation. 

Only the rejection of these proposals, in the face of a continuing decline of economy, compelled me to 
seek a way out, along the opposite road, Le.y along the road of rigid management and closer inclusion of 
the trade unions — not as mass organizations but as administrative machinery — into the system of 
economic management under War Communism. The transition to the N.E.P. not only met with no 
objections on my part, but, on the contrary, corresponded entirely with all the conclusions I had drawn 
from my own experience in economic management and administration. Such is the actual content of the 
so-called trade union discussion. 

The volume of my Collected Works devoted to this period has not been published by the State Publishers 
precisely because that book does not leave a stone unturned in exposing the legend created around the 
trade union discussion. 

31. To believe the present party historians and theoreticians, you might think that the first six years of the 
revolution were entirely filled with disagreements about Brest-Litovsk and the trade unions. All the rest 
has disappeared: the preparation of the October insurrection, the insurrection itself, the creation of the 
government, the creation of the Red Army, the civil war, the four congresses of the Comintern, all the 
writings on communist propaganda, the work in the sphere of leadership of the foreign communist parties 
and our own. Of all this work, in which upon all fundamental questions, I was in complete accord with 
Lenin, there remain, according to the present historians, only two moments: Brest-Litovsk and the trade 
unions. 

32. Stalin and his lackeys have worked hardest over the effort to picture the trade union discussion as my 
"bitter" struggle against Lenin. 

Here is what I said at the height of this discussion at our fraction in the Miners' Congress, January 26, 
1921: 

"Comrade Shliapnikov in speaking here-perhaps I express his thought a little crudely-said: 'Don't believe 
in this disagreement between Trotsky and Lenin. They will unite just the same and the struggle will be 
waged only against us!' He says: 'Don't believe.' I don't know what this means about believing or not 
believing. Of course, we may unite. We may dispute in deciding any very important question but the 
controversy only pushes our thoughts in the direction of 'unification'. "(Trotsky, Concluding Speech, 
Second AU-Russian Congress of Miners, Jan.26, 1921.) 

Here is another passage from my speech which Lenin quoted in his pamphlet: 

"During the sharpest polemic concerning comrade Tomsky, I always said what is absolutely clear to me, 
that the leaders in our trade unions can be only people with the greatest experience, with the authority 
that comrade Tomsky possesses. I said that at the meeting of our fraction during the Fifth Trade Union 
Congress. I said it again the other day at Zimin's Theater. An ideological struggle in the party does not 
imply mutual repulsion. It implies rather influence mutually ^x^xi^d^ (Collected Works, Vol. XVIII, Pt. 
l,p.71.) 

And here is what Lenin said on this self- same question in his concluding speech at the Tenth Party 

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Congress, summarizing the trade union discussion: 

"The Workers' Opposition said: 'Lenin and Trotsky will unite.' Trotsky taking the floor replied: 'Whoever 
does not understand that it is necessary to unite is going against the party; of course, we will unite 
because we are party men.' I supported Trotsky. To be sure, Trotsky and I have differed. When more or 
less equal groupings arise in the Central Committee, the party decides, and decides in such a way that we 
unite according to the will and directives of the party. That is the announcement with which Trotsky and 
I went to the Miners' Congress and have come here, Le.y to the Party Congress. "f/^ /J., p. 132.) 

Is that anything like the spiteful scribbling which is given out these days for a history of the trade union 
discussion in one political textbook after another? 

The thing becomes laughable when Bukharin incautiously proceeds to exploit the trade union discussion 
as a weapon against "Trotskyism." Here is the way Lenin appraised Bukharin's position in that 
discussion: 

"Hitherto the 'chief in the struggle has been Trotsky. But now Bukharin has left him way behind and 
completely eclipsed' him. Bukharin has created a completely new situation in the struggle for he has 
talked himself into a mistake a hundred times bigger than all the mistakes of Trotsky put together. 

"How could Bukharin talk himself into this break with communism? We know all the softness of 
comrade Bukharin, one of the characteristics for which you love him so, and can't help loving him. We 
know that he is often jokingly called 'soft wax.' It seems that 'any unprincipled person,' any 'demagogue,' 
can print on that soft wax anything he wants to. The harsh expression included in the quotation marks 
was used by comrade Kamenev in the discussion of January 17. And he had a right to use it. But, of 
course, it would never occur to Kamenev or to anybody else to explain what happened as unprincipled 
demagogy-to reduce everything to that.'' (Ibid, p. 35.) 

THE THIRD CONGRESS OF THE COMINTERN 

33. After all, was the trade union question the only question in the life of the party and the Soviet 
Republic during the years of my collaboration with Lenin? In the same year, 1921, the year of the Tenth 
Party Congress, occurred the Third World Congress of the Comintern, which played an enormous role in 
the history of the international labor movement. At this Third Congress, a profound struggle unfolded 
upon the fundamental questions of communist policies. That struggle was transferred into our Political 
Bureau. I told something of it briefly at a session of the Political Bureau soon after the Fourteenth Party 
Congress: 

"There was danger at that time that the policy of the Comintern would follow the line of the March 1921 
events [2 11 in Germany. That is, the attempt to create a revolutionary situation artificially-to 'galvanize' 
the proletariat, as one of the German comrades expressed it. That mood was the prevailing one in the 
Congress. Vladimir Ilyich came to the conclusion that, following this course, the International would 
most certainly go to smash. Before the Congress I wrote my impression of the March events to comrade 
Radek in a letter of which Vladimir Ilyich knew nothing. Considering the ticklish situation, and not 
knowing the Opinion of Vladimir Ilyich and knowing that Zinoviev, Bukharin and Radek were in general 
for the German Left, I naturally did not express myself publicly but wrote a letter (in the form of theses) 
to comrade Radek, asking him to give me his Opinion. Radek and I did not agree. Vladimir Ilyich beard 
about this, sent for me, and characterized the situation in the Comintern as one involving the very 



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greatest dangers. In appraising the situation and its problems, we were in full accord. 

"After this conference, Vladimir Ilyich sent for comrade Kamanev in order to assure a majority in the 
Political Bureau. There were then five members in the Political Bureau. With comrade Kamenev, we 
were three and consequently a majority, but in our delegation to the Comintern, there were, on one side, 
comrades Zinoviev, Bukharin and Radek; on the other, Vladimir Ilyich, comrade Kamenev and myself. 
And, by the way, we had formal sittings of these groups. Vladimir Ilyich said at that time: 'Well, we are 
forming a new faction.' During further negotiations as to the text of the resolutions to be introduced, I 
served as the representative of the Lenin faction while Radek represented the Zinoviev faction." 

ZINOVIEV: "Now the state of affairs is changed." 

TROTSKY: "Yes, it has changed. Moreover, comrade Zinoviev rather categorically accused comrade 
Radek at that time of 'betraying' his faction in those negotiations; that is, of making presumably too great 
concessions. There was an intense struggle throughout all the parties of the Comintern, and Vladimir 
Ilyich conferred with me as to what we should do if the Congress voted against us. Should we submit to 
the Congress whose decisions might be ruinous, or should we not submit? 

"The reflection of that conference you can find in the stenographic report of my speech. I said at that 
time, in agreement with Ilyich, that if you, the Congress, adopt a decision against us, I trust you will 
leave us a sufficient frame work in which to defend our point of view in the future. The meaning of this 
warning was perfectly clear. I ought to add, however, that the relations then existing within our 
delegation, thanks to the leadership of Vladimir Ilyich, continued to be perfectly comradely." (Minute & 
of the Political Bureau of the C.P.S.U., March 18, 1926.) 

In agreement with Lenin, I defended our common position in the E.C.C.I., whose session preceded the 
sessions of the Third World Congress. I was the target of a fierce attack by the so-called 
"Leftists. "Vladimir Ilyich hurried to the session of the E. C.C.I, and this is what he said there: 

"....I came here in order to protest against the speech of comrade Bela Kun who took the floor against 
comrade Trotsky instead of defending him as he ought to have done if he wanted to be a genuine 
Marxist.... 

"Comrade Laporte was absolutely wrong and comrade Trotsky, protesting against it, was absolutely 
right. Comrade Trotsky was a thousand times right when he stressed that point. And here is another 
Luxemburg comrade who reproached the French party because it did not sabotage the occupation of 
Luxemburg. [221 There you have it. He thinks that this is a geographical question, just as comrade Bela 
Kun does. No, this is a political question and comrade Trotsky was entirely right in protesting against it. 

"That is why I considered it my duty to support fundamentally all that comrade Trotsky said. . ." 

Throughout all of Lenin's speeches relating to the Third World Congress recurs this sharp emphasis upon 
his complete solidarity with Trotsky. 

THE QUESTION OE EDUCATING THE PARTY YOUTH 

34. In 1922, there was created upon the initiative of comrade Ter-Vaganyan a magazine. Pod 
Znamenyem Marxisma [Under the Banner of Marxism], For the first issue, I contributed an article on the 
difference in the conditions of education of the two generations of the party-the old and the new-and on 
the necessity of a special theoretical approach toward the new generation in order to safeguard the 

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theoretical and political heritage in the development of the party. In the following issue of the new 
magazine, Lenin wrote: 

"Concerning the general task of the magazine Under the Banner of Marxism, comrade Trotsky in No. 1-2 
said all that was essential and said it excellently. I should like to dwell upon certain questions defining 
more closely the content and program of work issued by the editors of the journal in their preliminary 
announcement to No. 1-2 y (Collected Works, Supplementary Vol. XX, Pt. 2, p.492.) 

Could our solidarity upon these fundamental questions have been accidental? No, the only accident lies 
in the fact that the solidarity happened to be so clearly recorded in the press. In the overwhelming 
majority of cases, our solidarity was sealed only in deeds. Yet it was precisely on the question of attitude 
to the youth that innumerable legends have been created in recent years. 

ATTITUDE TOWARD THE PEASANTRY 

35. After Bukharin, out of sheer rejection of or disregard for the peasantry, had arrived at his kulak 
SloganI23] "Enrich yourselves," he came to the conclusion that h( had thereby forever corrected all of his 
old mistakes. More than that, he thought he could string on the same thread with the peasant question, 
my disagreement about Brest-Litovsk and my other partial disagreements with Vladimir Ilyich. The 
stupidities and abominations put in circulation by the Bukharin m school on this theme are absolutely 
incalculable. It would take a volume to refute them a! ! specifically. I will mention only the most 
important points: 

(a) I do not touch here upon the old pre-Revolutionary disagreements that really existed. [241 1 will 
say only that they have been monstrously distended, distorted and perverted by Stalin's agents and 
the petty school of Bukharin. 

(b) In 1917 there was no disagreement whatever upon this question between Lenin and me. 

(c) The "adoption "of the Social Revolutionary land program was carried out by Vladimir Ilyich in 
full agreement with me. 

(d) I happened to be the first to read Lenin's penciled draft of the decree on the land question. 
There was not even a hint of disagreement. We were of one mind. 

(e) In the food policy the peasant question occupied, obviously, no small place. Vulgarians like 
Martinov are saying that this policy was " Trotskyist"('c./., Martinov's article in Kranaya Nov, 
1923). No, it was a Bolshevik policy. I took part in its enactment hand in hand with Lenin. There 
was not a shadow of disagreement. 

(f) The policy based on the middle peasantry was adopted with my most active participation. The 
members of the Political Bureau know that after the death of Sverdlov, the first thought of 
Vladimir Ilyich was to name comrade Kamenev chairman of the AU-Russian Central Executive 
Committee. The proposal to select instead a "worker-peasant"figure came from me. I nominated 
comrade Kalinin for the post. It was also on my suggestion that he was called "AU-Russian 
Starosta"[Yill3.go elder]. All this is, of course, a trivial matter upon which it would not be worth 
while to pause. But at present these trivialities, these symptoms, are murderous evidence against 
the falsifiers of our past. 

(g) Nine-tenths of all our military policy and organization reduced itself to the policy of the 

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relation of the workers to the peasantry. That policy-against petty bourgeois guerrilla and amateur 
methods (Stalin, Voroshilov and Co.) I carried out hand in hand with Vladimir Ilyich. 

I cite, for example, a whole series of my telegrams from Simbirsk and Ruzaevka (March 1919) 
stressing the necessity of applying energetic measures in order to improve relations with the 
middle peasantry. I demanded that an authorized commission be sent to the Volga region for the 
purpose of checking up on the activities of local authorities and of making a study of the causes of 
peasant dissatisfaction. My third telegram-by direct wire to Stalin, Kremlin, Moscow 
(urgent)-reads as follows: 

"The Commission's task should be to strengthen the faith of the Volga peasantry in the Central 
Soviet Government, to remove the most crying cases of local maladministration and to punish the 
guilty representatives of the Soviet power; to gather all complaints and materials to be used as a 
basis of demonstrative decrees in favor of the middle peasants. Smilga could be appointed a 
member on this commission; Kamenev is likewise desirable, or some other authoritative 
figure. "(March 22, 1919, No.813.) 

It was not Stalin who sent me this telegram-one of many-stressing the necessity of decrees to 
benefit the middle peasants, but it was I who sent it to Stalin. This took place not during the period 
of the Fourteenth Congress but at the beginning of the year 1919 when Stalin's views on the 
middle peasants were still unknown to anyone. 

Indeed, every page of the old records- without the slightest attempt at selection-rings today like a 
scathing exposure of the twaddle invented at this late date regarding my "underestimation of the 
peasantry" or the "underestimation of the middle peasants!" 

(h) At the beginning of 1920, basing myself on an analysis of the condition of peasant economy, I 
introduced in the Political Bureau the proposal of a series of measures similar to the N.E.P. That 
proposal could not possibly have been dictated by a "disregard"for the peasantry. 

(i) The trade union discussion was, as I said, a search for a way out of an economic blind alley. 
The transition to the N.E.P. was carried out in complete unanimity. 

36. All this can be proved on the basis of indisputable documents. Some day it will be. Here I limit 
myself to two quotations. 

In answer to questions asked by peasants as to our relation to the kulaks, the middle and the poor 
peasants, and as to alleged disagreements between Lenin and Trotsky on the peasant question, I wrote in 
1919: 

"No disagreement upon this question in the centers of the Soviet Government have existed or exist. The 
counter-revolutionists, whose cause is getting more and more hopeless, have nothing left hut to deceive 
the toiling masses as to a pretended conflict supposed to be dividing the Council of People's Commissars 
Wiihinr (hvestia, Feb. 7, 1919.) 

Lenin wrote upon this theme, in answer to a question from the peasant Gulov, the following words: 

"In hvestia for February 2, there appeared a letter from Gulov, a peasant, who asks about the relation of 
the workers' and peasants' government to the middle peasantry and speaks of rumors to the effect that 
Lenin and Trotsky are not in harmony; that there are big disagreements between them, and especially 



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Upon the subject of the middle peasant. 

"Comrade Trotsky has already given his answer in his 'Open Letter to the Middle Peasants' in Investia for 
February 7. Comrade Trotsky says in this letter that the rumors of disagreement between him and me are 
a monstrous and a despicable lie, propagated by the landlords and capitalists and their conscious or 
unconscious servitors. I, upon my part, fully confirm this statement of comrade Trotsky. There are no 
disagreements between him and me, and in regard to the middle peasants, there are no disagreements not 
only between Trotsky and me, but in general, in the Communist Party of which we are both members. 

"Comrade Trotsky in his letter explained clearly and in detail why the party of the communists and the 
present workers' and peasants' government elected by the Soviets and members of that party, do not 
consider the middle peasants their enemies. I subscribe with both hands to what comrade Trotsky 
^3iAr (Collected Works, Vol. XVI, pp. 28f. Printed originally in Pravda, No.85, Feb.l5, 1919.) 

Here we run into the same fact again. The rumor was first set going by the White Guards. Now it is 
caught up by the Stalin-Bukharin school, developed and deliberately propagated. 

MILITARY WORK 

37. On the subject of my military work which began in the spring of 1918, an attempt has been made, 
under the guidance of Stalin, to rewrite history. In fact, the attempt has been made to rewrite the entire 
history of the Civil War for the sole purpose of the struggle against "Trotskyism" or, to put it more 
precisely, the struggle against Trotsky. 

To rehearse here the story of the creation of the Red Army and the relation of Lenin to that work, would 
be to write the history of the Civil War. For the time being, the Gusevs are writing it. Later, others will 
write it. I must limit myself to two or three examples supported by documents. 

When Kazan was captured by our troops, I received a telegram of congratulations from Vladimir Ilyich, 
then rapidly convalescing: 

"I greet with rapture the brilliant victory of the Red Army. Let it serve as a pledge that the union of 
workers and revolutionary peasants will shatter the bourgeoisie completely; will break every resistance 
of the exploiters, and guarantee the victory of world socialism. Long live the workers' revolution! 

"Sept.lO, 1918. 

"Lenin." 

The intensely elated (for Lenin) tone of the telegram-"! greet with rapture "-testifies to the enormous 
significance he attributed, and rightly so, to the capture of Kazan. Here occurred the first and essentially 
decisive trial of strength of the union of workers and revolutionary peasants and of the ability of the 
party, amid the economic ruin and terrible desolation left by the imperialist war, to create a fighting, 
revolutionary army. Here the methods of creating the Red Army underwent their trial by fire, and Lenin 
knew the true value of this trial. 

38. At the Eighth Party Congress, a group of military delegates criticized the war policy. The Stalins and 
Voroshilovs have been taking lately as though I dared not even appear at the Eighth Congress and hear 
their criticisms. How monstrously far that is from the actual fact! Here is the resolution of the Central 
Committee on the subject of my departure for the front on the eve of the Eighth Congress: 



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Excerpt from the minutes of the March 16, 1919, session of the Central Committee, C.P.R. Present: 
Comrades Lenin, Zinoviev, Krestinsky, Viadimirsky, Stalin, Schmidt, Smilga, Dzerzhinsky, Lashevich, 
Bukharin, Sokolnikov, Trotsky, Stassova: 

"12. Certain comrades from the front, learning of the Central Committee's resolution for the immediate 
return of the army comrades to the front, raised the ques tion as to the correctness of this decision which 
might be interpreted by the organiza tions at the front as an un willingness of the Center to hear the voice 
of the army. Some are even interpreting it as a sort of trick because the departure of comrade Trotsky and 
the non-admis sion (recall to the front) of army deputies make it futile even to raise the question of 
military policy. Comrade Trotsky protests against the interpretation of the resolution of the Central 
Committee as a 'trick' and calls attention to the extreme seriousness of the situation caused by the retreat 
from Ufa and still farther west. He insists upon his departure." 

"Resolutions Passed 

"(1) Comrade Trotsky shall depart immediately for the front. 

"(2) Comrade Sokolnikov shall announce at a meeting of the comrades from the front that the 
order for the departure of all of them is annulled, and it is assumed that those should depart im 
mediately who themselves consider their presence at the front necessary. 

"(3) The question of mili tary policy shall be placed first on the order of the day of the Congress. 

"(4) Comrade Vladimir Mikhailovich Smirnov is granted permission to re main, as requested by 
him, in Moscow." 

There you have a clear example of the party regime of that epoch. All who were attacking the Central 
Committee for its military policy, and especially the leader of the military opposition, V. M. Smirnov, 
were permitted to remain for the congress, notwithstanding the grave situation at the front. Those who 
supported the official policy were sent to the front before the opening of the congress. Nowadays things 
are done in exactly the opposite way. 

The minutes of the military section of the Eighth Party Congress, where Lenin spoke decisively in 
defense of the military policy carried out by me at the direction of the Central Committee, have not yet 
been published. Why? Because they rip to pieces the lies of Stalin, Voroshilov and Gusev concerning the 
period of the Civil War. 

39. Stalin has tried to put in circulation an absurdly exaggerated account of the military disagreement 
which arose in the Political Bureau in regard to the Eastern front at the beginning of 1919. The essence of 
the disagreement was this: Should we continue the offensive in Siberia or entrench ourselves in the Urals 
and throw the maximum of our forces to the south in order to liquidate the threat against Moscow? I was 
inclined, for a certain period of time, towards the second plan. Many military workers, among them 
Smilga, Lashevich, L N. Smirnov, K. L Gruenstein and many others, were in favor of the first plan. The 
first plan was adopted and gave admirable results. This disagreement did not involve any principle. It 
was purely practical. The subsequent test demonstrated that the army of Kolchak was wholly 
disintegrated. The offensive in Siberia was entirely successful. 

40. The military work was harsh work. It was not carried out without pressure, repressions and measures 
of force. Many prides were hurt-most often through necessity but sometimes by mistake. Much 
discontent resulted and some of it, of course, was entirely legitimate. When the disagreements arose in 

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regard to the Eastern front, and the Central Committee was to decide the question as to the change of 
Chief Command, I offered the Central Committee my resignation from the post of People's Commissar 
for War. On the same day, July 5, 1919, the Central Committee adopted a resolution, of which the 
principal part follows: 

"The Organization Bureau and the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, after considering the 
statement of comrade Trotsky and discussing it in full, have come to the unanimous conclusion that his 
resignation cannot be accepted, being entirely out of question. 

"The Organization Bureau and the Political Bureau of the Central Committee will do all that they can to 
make more convenient for comrade Trotsky, and more fruitful for the Republic, that work on the 
Southern front which comrade Trotsky himself has chosen and which is the most difficult, the most 
dangerous and the most important at the present moment. In his position as People's Commissar for War 
and Chairman of the Military Council, comrade Trotsky is also fully empowered to act as a member of 
the Military Revolutionary Council of the Southern front together with that Commissar of the Southern 
front (Yegorov) whom he him self proposed and whom the Central Committee has confirmed. 

"The Organization Bureau and the Political Bureau of the Central Committee give comrade Trotsky full 
authority by every means whatsoever, to achieve what he considers a necessary correction of policy on 
the military question and, if he so desires, to expedite the congress of the party." 

The signatures to this resolution were: Lenin, Kamenev, Krestinsky, Kalinin, Serebriakov, Stalin, 
Stassova. 

This resolution speaks for itself. It ended the controversial issue, and we passed on to the next point on 
the agenda. 

A propos of this: At the joint session of the Political Bureau and the Presidium of the Central Control 
Commission, Sept. 8, 1927, Stalin entered a statement into the min utes alleging that the Central 
Committee "forbade"me to touch the Southern front. On that question, too, the above resolution gives a 
sufliciently exhaustive answer. 

41. But was the disagreement about the Eastern front the only disagreement of a strategical nature? Not 
by any means. There was a disagreement about the strategic plan against Denikin. There was a 
disagreement about Petrograd — surrender it to Yudenich or defend it? There was a dis agreement about 
the advance on Warsaw [251 and about the possibility of a second campaign after we had retired to Minsk. 
Disagreements of this kind were born of the practical struggle and were liquidated in struggle. 

On the question of the Southern front, the necessary documents are published in my book. How the 
Revolution Armed Itself (Vol Al, Book I, p. 80]). 

During the advance of Yudenieh upon Petrograd, Lenin at one time thought it was not worthwhile trying 
to defend the city and that we ought to move the line of defense nearer Moscow. I objected. Comrade 
Zinoviev supported me and I think also comrade Stalin. On the 17th of October 1919, Lenin 
communicated with me in Petrograd by direct wire: 

"Comrade Trotsky: 

"Last night transmitted in code . . . the decision of the Council of Defense. 



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"As you see, your plan was adopted. But the withdrawal of the Petrograd workers to the south was, of 
course, not rejected (I am told that you expounded it to Krassin and Rykov) ; but to discuss it before the 
need arises would distract attention from the fight-to-the-finish. 

"An attempt to outflank and cut off Petrograd will, of course, bring corresponding changes which you 
will carry out on the spot. 

"Assign someone in each department of the local executive committee to collect Soviet papers and 
documents in preparation for an evacuation. 

"I enclose a proclamation which I was assigned to draft by the Council of Defense. I did it hastily and it 
turned out poorly. You had better put my signature under yours. 

"Greetings! 

"Lenin." 

There were many such episodes. They had immense practical importance at the given moment but they 
never had any principled significance. It was not a struggle over principles but a working out of the best 
plan for fighting off the enemy at a given moment and a given place. 

The Stalins and the Gusevs are trying to rewrite the history of the Civil War. They will not succeed! 

42. The most contemptible part of the campaign of the Stalinists against me is their accusation that I had 
"communists"shot. This accusation was once put in circulation by our enemies, by their "Intelligence 
Service. "That is, the political departments of the White Armies tried to circulate leaflets among our Red 
Soldiers, accusing the Red Command and Trotsky, in particular, of bloodthirstiness. The agentry of 
Stalin are now going the same road. 

Assume for a minute that this lie is true. Then why were Stalin, Yaroslavsky, Gusev and the other agents 
of Stalin silent during the entire Civil War? What is implied by these current tardy "revelations "on the 
lips of the Stalin agentry? It means this: 

"Workers, peasants and Red soldiers, the party deceived you when it told you that Trotsky, the 
Commander of the Army, was fulfilling the will of the party and carrying out its policy. In its 
innumerable articles about the work of Trotsky, in the resolutions of its party congresses and the 
congresses of the Soviets, the party deceived you, approving the military work of Trotsky and hiding 
from you such facts as the execution of communists. Lenin participated in this deceit, decisively 
supporting the military policy of Trotsky." 

That is the real meaning of these tardy "revelations "of Stalin. These "revelations "compromise not 
Trotsky but the party, its leadership. They undermine the confidence of the masses in all the Bolsheviks. 
For if, in the past, when Lenin and the main core of his colleagues stood at the head of the party, it was 
possible to conceal monstrous mistakes and even crimes, what can you expect now, when the personnel 
of the Central Committee is infinitely less authoritative? If, for example, Yaroslavsky in 1928, when the 
Civil War was already long past, sang the immoderate praises of Trotsky, his fidelity, his revolutionary 
devotion to the cause of the working class, then what is the thoughtful young party member going to say 
today? He is going to ask himself: 

"Just when was Yaroslavsky lying to m--when he exalted Trotsky above the skies, or now, when he is 



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trying to cover him with mud?" 

Such is the real work of Stalin and his agents in their effort to invent a new biography for him after the 
events. The party mass cannot possibly check upon the greater part of Stalin's "revelations. "Instead they 
become firmly imbued with a loss of confidence in the leadership of the party, past, present and future. 
We shall have to win this anew-this confidence of the party-against Stalin and Stalinism. 

43. As is known, Gusev has devoted special energy to the literary revision of our war history. He has 
even written a brochure entitled Our Military Disagreements. In this brochure, it seems, the poisonous 
gossip first appeared about shooting communists (not deserters, not traitors, even though with party 
cards, but communists). 

Gusev's misfortune, like that of many others, is that he has written twice about one and the same fact and 
question: once in Lenin's tim once in Stalin's. 

Here is what Gusev wrote the first time: 

"The arrival of comrade Trotsky [near Kazan] produced a decisive change in the situation. The arrival of 
Trotsky's train at the wayside station, Sviazhsk, brought a firm will to victory, initiative and momentum 
for all sides of the work of the army. From the very first day, in that station crowded with the wagon 
trains of the innumerable regiments, where were the headquarters of the political department and the 
commissary, as well as among the army troops deployed over a distance of fifteen versts, everybody felt 
that a great turn mg point had arrived. 

"This made itself felt first of all in the sphere of discipline. The stern methods of comrade Trotsky in that 
epoch of guerrilla warfare, in discipline and provincial egotisms, were especially and above all expedient 
and necessary. You could do nothing with persuasion. And, moreover, there was no time for it. In the 
course of those twenty-five days that comrade Trotsky spent in Sviazhsk an enormous work was 
accomplished. The disorganized and degenerated regiments of the Fifth Army were converted into 
fighting troops and prepared for the capture of Kazmi.'' (Proletarskay a Revolutsia, No. 2 [25], 1924.) 

Every member of the party who lived through the experience of the Civil War and has not lost his 
memory will say, at least to himself, if he is afraid to say it out loud, that you could quote by the score, if 
not by the hundred, such printed testimonials as this testimonial written by Gusev. 

44. 1 limit myself here to testimonials of the most authoritative character. In his recollections of Lenin, 
Gorky says: 

"Striking his fist on the table, he [Lenin] exclaimed: 'Show me another man who would be able in a year 
to organize almost a model army; yes, and win the esteem of the military specialists. We have such a 
man. We have everything, and you'll see miracles!' "(Maxim Gorky, Vladimir Lenin, Leningrad, 1924, 
p.28.) 

In the same conversation, Lenin said, according to Gorky: 

"Yes, yes, I know. They lie a lot about my relations with him. They lie a great deal, it seems, especially 
about Trotsky and me."('//?/J., p.28.) 

Yes, they lied a lot about the relations of Lenin and Trotsky. But can you compare the amateurish lying 
of those days with the properly organized, AU-Russian and international lying of today? In those days the 



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liars were the Black Hundreds, the White Guards, in part also the Social Revolutionists and Mensheviks. 
Now it is the Stalin faction that has seized this weapon. 

45. In the Bolshevik fraction of the AU-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions, January 12, 1920, 
Lenin said: 

"If we defeated Denikin and Kolchak, it was because our discipline was higher than that of all the 
capitalist countries of the world. Comrade Trotsky has introduced the death penalty and we will support 
him. He has introduced it by means of conscious organization and agitation on the part of communists." 

46. 1 have not at hand the many other speeches of Lenin in defense of the military policy which I carried 
out in full accord with him. In particular, the minutes of the conference of delegates to the Eighth 
Congress on Military Affairs remain unpublished. Why are those minutes unpublished? Because Lenin in 
that conference opposed with all his energy the colleagues of Stalin who are now so industriously 
falsifying the past. 

47. But I have at hand one document which is worth a hundred. I spoke of this document in the 
Presidium of the Central Control Commission when Yaroslavsky started a poisonous intrigue against me, 
under protest from Ordjonikidze. I quoted it at the last joint Plenum, August 1927, when Voroshilov 
followed in the footsteps of Yaroslavsky. 

Lenin gave me, on his own initiative, a blank sheet of paper with the following lines written at the 
bottom: 

"Comrades, knowing the harsh character of comrade Trotsky's orders, I am so convinced, so absolutely 
convinced, of the correctness, expedience and necessity for the good of our cause, of orders issued by 
comrade Trotsky, that I give them my full support. 

"V. Ulianov (Lenin)." 

The purpose of this blank I explained to the Presidium of the Central Control Commission in the 
following words: 

"When he [Lenin] handed me that sheet of paper with these lines written at the bottom of a clean page, I 
was perplexed. He said: 'I have been informed that rumors are being started against you that you are 
shooting communists. I give you this blank and I will give you as many of them as you want, stating that 
I support your decisions. Above it you can write any decision you want to and my signature will be 
ready.' That was in July 1919. Since much gossip is now abroad about my relations with Vladimir Ilyich, 
and what is far more important, his attitude toward me, I would suggest that somebody else show me 
such a blank page with his signature, where Lenin says that he endorses beforehand every decision that I 
might make. Upon these decisions depended not only the fate of individual communists but often a far 
greater thing." 



NOTES: 

18. The onerous conditions of peace which the Germans, threaten ing a constantly deeper invasion of the 
Ukraine and Russia itself, sought to impose at Brest-Litovsk upon the young Soviet repub lie, created a 
violent dispute in the leading circles of the Bol shevik party and in the ranks. Emphasizing the exhaustion 



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of the Soviet forces and the need of a breathing spell, Lenin stood for signing the proposed peace treaty, 
even though it meant agreement to Russia's being despofled of vast territories and forced to pay tribute to 
the Germans. Bukharin and his group (including Inessa Armand, A. Bubnov, Bela Kun, Alexandra Kol 
lontai, Kuibyschev, N. Muralov,M. N. Pokrovsky, Preobrazhen sky, Piatakov, Radek, Uritsky, etc.), 
opposed the acceptance of the peace terms and advocated a revolutionary war against the Germans. 
Trotsky, recognizing the exhaustion of the armed forces of the Soviets, proposed that the war be declared 
at an end, that the peace treaty be not signed, and that if the Germans continued to advance, the terms be 
accepted "at the point of a bayonet," in order to show the international and especially the German work 
ing class t-^at the Soviets had held out against German imperial ism till the very last. Trotsky's 
formula- "Neither war nor peace" — was, for example, exactly the status for years to come of relations 
between Russia and Roumania. At first Lenin was in a minority in tile leadership and the ranks. The 
principal Soviets in the country (except for Petrograd and Sebastopol) expressed themselves against 
signing the treaty (thus, Moscow, Ekaterin burg, Kharkov, Kronstadt, etc.). On January 21, 1918, at a 
conference in Petrograd of active leaders throughout the country, with 68 present, the revolutionary war 
position received an absolute majority of 32, the Trotsky position ("Neither war nor peace") 16, and the 
Lenin position 15. At the very last moment, when the Germans had resumed their advance and given 
their final ultimatum, the Central Committee session carried Lenin's proposal to sign the treaty. At the 
February 23 meeting, Lenin, Zinoviev, Sverdlov and Sokolnikov voted to sign, with Bukharin, 
Dzerzhinsky, Uritsky and Lomoy voting against. Trotsky stated: 

"If there were unanimity among us, we could proceed with the organization of the defense and would do 
a good job of it. . 

But this requires a maximum of unity. But since this unity does not exist, I cannot assume the 
responsibility for voting in favor of war." The C.C. thereupon decided by 7 votes to 4, with 4 abstain ing 
(Trotsky's abstention gave Lenin the necessary majority) to accept the German proposal instantly. At this 
session, it was Stalin who declared: "It is not necessary to sign, but we can begin peace negotiations" — 
a position which Lenin attacked. The "Left Communists," Bukharin, Lomov, Bubnov, Yakovlev, 
Piatakov and V. Smirnov thereupon announced their withdrawal from all responsible party and Soviet 
posts in order to be free to carry on their agitation against the decision in the ranks of the party; in the 
name of the Moscow Party Committee controlled by them, they issued Kommunist as a faction organ in 
which a violent polemic was conducted for several months against Lenin's course. The signing of the 
Brest Treaty also had as one of its results the withdrawal of all the Social Revolutionary Commissars 
from the Soviet Government, followed by an armed uprising of that party against the Bolshevik regime. 
[BACK TO TEXT] 

19. The N.E.P. (New Economic Policy) was adopted, on Lenin's initiative, by the Tenth Congress of the 
Communist Party of Russia, early in 1921, and re-enforced at the Tenth Party Conference in May of the 
same year. Not only had the post-war revolutionary wave in Europe subsided, especially after the fail ure 
of the Red drive on Warsaw, but relations with the peasantry in Russia had become strained to the 
breaking point. The ex tremely rigorous regulations of so-called War Communism (requisitioning and 
confiscation of grain from the peasant), accompanied by the breakdown of industry consequent upon the 
ravages of the civil war (in 1920, industrial output was only 18 per cent of the pre-war level; in heavy 
industry, specifically, the situation was far worse), had brought the alliance of the workers and peasants 
to extreme tension. The Tenth Congress met dur ing the Kronstadt rebellion, which reflected the intense 
discon tent of the peasants. Lenin proposed a policy of substituting a tax in kind for requisitions; of 
allowing the peasant to dispose of his surplus within the limits of "local trade"; of allowing the 

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development of capitalist concessions to a delimited extent, and of state capitalism, on the ground that 
state capitalism was a higher economic form than that which prevailed in most of agri cultural Russia. 
The retreat sounded by Lenin was to allow a breathing spell during which, while waiting for the decisive 
aid of the European revolution, Russia could reconstruct her Indus tries, electrify and modernize them, 
and establish a more har monious relationship with the mass of her population, the peas antry. 
Capitalism, in industry and agriculture, was to be allowed a considerable field of possibilities in which to 
develop, provided, however, that the workers' state retained control of the so-called "commanding 
heights," namely, the nationalized key industries, state banking, nationalization of the land, monopoly of 
foreign trade. The N.E.P., despite the inherent dangers of capitalist restoration, greatly facilitated not 
only the re-establishment of good relations between worker and peasant, but also the recon struction of 
Russia's industrial life. [BACK TO TEXT1 

20. On March 1, 1921, the sailors of Kronstadt, the fortress out side of Petrograd, rose in armed rebellion 
against the Soviet Gov ernment, mainly around the demands for new elections to the Soviets and for 
eliminating the Communist Party monopoly. Attempts at peaceful negotiations and settlement of 
differences proved unsuccessful. The government called upon the Kron' stadters to lay down their arms 
and acknowledge the discipline of the federal government, but the rebels refused. The decisive strategic 
importance of Kronstadt, the key to Petrograd, made it impossible to allow it to remain in hostile hands 
for any length of time, and a couple of days after the uprising, it was suppressed by troops led across ice 
floes from Petrograd. The suppression of the Kronstadt rising was one of the saddest necessities of the 
Russian Revolution. Unlike the sailors of the November, 1917, revolution, who were drawn largely from 
the industrial heart of Petrograd, and who were subsequently dispersed to the four cor ners of Russia 
during the civil war, the sailors in 1921 were drawn largely from southern ports (like Odessa), usually the 
sons of Ukrainian peasants (four members of the Kronstadt rebels' committee were Ukrainian, as was 
their chief, Petri chenko). On furlough in their home towns, they were heavily influenced by the 
complaints of the peasants against the stren uous regime of War Communism, and against the 
Communists who led the regime. In Kronstadt itself, anti-Communist elements — anarchists and Social 
Revolutionaries — were active in sharp ening relations between Kronstadt and Petrograd. Outside of 
Russia, the reactionary elements regarded the Kronstadt upris ing as a rallying pole for the 
counter-revolution- at first under the war-cry of "Soviets without Communists "-a bridge to no Soviets at 
all. The Kronstadt sailors were, for the most part, the unwitting victims of these forces. The uprising did 
serve, how ever, to call sharply to the attention of the Bolsheviks the impera tive need of putting an end 
to the War Communism course, which had brought relations with the peasantry, and even with sections 
of the working class, to a breaking point. The Tenth Congress of the Party, which met during the 
uprising, was the one that initiated the New Economic Policy. [BACK TO TEXT] 

21. The call of the German Communist Party in March, 1921, for an armed insurrection to seize power, 
in connection with the struggles in Central Germany, was a direct manifestation of the so-called "theory 
of the offensive," whose principal inspirers and theorizers in the Comintern were Bukharin and, to a 
somewhat lesser extent, Zinoviev. The party leadership not only plunged its membership into what was 
obviously doomed in advance as a futile military action by a small minority of the working class, but 
after the collapse of the March Action, it declared that it would repeat the action at the first opportunity. 
These actions, it was stated by the ultra-Leftists, would electrify or galvanize the working class and cause 
them, each time, to mobilize into an ever greater force which would eventually overthrow capitalist rule. 
"If it is asked what was actually new about the March Action, it must be answered: precisely that which 
our opponents reprove, namely, that the party went into struggle without concerning itself about who 



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would follow it." (A. Maslow, Die Interna jionale, Berlin, 1921, p. 254.) "The March Action as an 
isolated action of the party would be-our opponents are right to this extent-a crime against the proletariat. 
The March Action as the introduction to a series of constantly rising actions, a redeeming act." (A. 
Thaiheimer, Taktik and Organisation der revolutionare Ojfensive, Berlin, 1921, p. 6.) "The slogan of the 
party can, therefore, be nothing but: offensive, offensive at any cost, with all means, in every situation 
that offers serious possibilities of success." (Heyder, Ibid., p. 22.) The Third Congress of the Comintern, 
confronted with this problem, was almost on the verge of a split. The Bukharin wing was supported by 
the majority of the delegates and leaders, including Pepper (Pogany) and Rakosi, who had really directed 
the March Action, Bela Kun, Munzenherg, Thaiheimer, Frolich, most of the Italians, etc. Lenin, who 
placed himself demonstratively in the "Right wing of the Congress," threatened it with a split if the 
supporters of Bukharin and the "offensive" carried the day. Supported by Trotsky, and through the 
medium of Radek, who played the role of a conciliator, Zinoviev and Bukharin were outvoted in the Rus 
sian delegation, with the final result that Lenin's views tri umphed. The theses of the Third Congress and 
the slogan "To the masses!" which introduced the broad policy of the united front adopted shortly 
afterward, was a definite blow at the Leftists and put an effective end for a long period of time to 
putschist moods in the International. [BACK TO TEXT] 

22. The criticism of the French party by the delegate from the Communist Party of Luxemburg, L. 
Reiland, dealt with the strike that broke out in March, 1921, in the mining district of his country, that is, 
on the very frontier of France. The Communist Party of France, then headed by the notorious 
opportunists, L.-O. Frossard and Marcel Cachin, paid no attention at all to the strike in the columns of the 
party organ, VHumanite\ nor was any protest made when the armed forces of France intervened and 
helped to crush the strike with the aid of bayonets. Reiland proposed the expulsion from the International 
of Frossard and Cachin. Coming on the heels of the speech by Maurice Laporte, leader of the French 
Communist Youth, who proposed that the party should have organized for a struggle against the 
mobilization of the Class of 1919 "with revolver in hand," Reiland's criticism were exploited by the 
ultra-Leftists at the Third Congress and drew the fire of Trotsky and Lenin. [BACK TO TEXT1 

23. Early in 1925, Bukharin, addressing himself to the Russian peasantry, exclaimed: "Enrich yourselves 
" — the slogan with which Guizot helped to fortify the French reaction. This was one of the many 
manifestations of the growing tendency of the ruling Soviet bureaucracy to base itself upon the rich 
peasants (Kulaks), a tendency which was one of the main causes of the rise of an Opposition in 
Leningrad, led by Zinoviev, Kamenev and Krupskaya, in 1925, and the merger of the Trotskyist and 
Zinovievist groups in 1926 into the United Opposition bloc. — Towards the end of 1925, Bukharin made 
a formal acknowledg ment of error in advancing his slogan, but nothing was changed in the main policies 
of the Stalin-Bukharin regime with regard to the countryside. [BACK TO TEXT] 

24. In a polemic against Radek in 1929, Trotsky wrote concerning his pre-revolutionary conflict with 
Lenin: " . . I never endeav ored to create a grouping on the basis of the theory of the per manent 
revolution. My inner-party stand was a conciliatory one and when at certain moments I strove for 
groupings, then it was precisely on this basis. My conciliationism was derived from a certain Social 
Revolutionary fatalism. I believed that the logic of the class struggle would compel both factions to 
pursue the same revolutionary line. The great historical significance of Lenin's stand was still unclear to 
me at that time, his policy of irreconcilable ideological demarcation and, when necessary, split, for the 
purpose of uniting and steeling the backbone of the truly revolutionary party. ... By striving for unity at 
all costs, I involuntarily and unavoidably had to idealize the Centrist ten dencies in Menshevism. Despite 



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the threefold episodic attempts, I arrived at no common work with the Mensheviks, and I could not arrive 
at it. Simultaneously, however, the conciliatory line brought me into an all the harsher position towards 
Bolshevism, since Lenin, in contrast to the Mensheviks, mercilessly rejected conciliationism and could 
do no different. It is obvious that no faction could be created on the platform of conciliationism." (The 
Permanent Revolution, New York, 1981, p. 20ff.) [BACK TO TEXT] 

25. Lenin urged the advance on Warsaw in the summer of 1920, in the hope of effecting a juncture with 
the revolutionary workers of the capital and ensuring the establishment of a Polish Soviet Republic. 
Trotsky counselled against a further advance, on the ground that the army forces were too exhausted and 
that they were moving too speedily away from their principal bases of economic as well as military 
support. With the aid of French imperialism, Pilsudski was able to drive back the Red Army after it had 
succeeded in coming within a short distance of War saw itself. Lenin later acknowledged that Trotsky 
had been correct in his views. [BACK TO TEXT1 



Return to Index Page — Next Chapter 



I 




The Leon Trotsky 



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The Marxist writers' 



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Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School Of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

Letter to the Bureau of Party History (Part 3) 
Concerning Economic Questions 

48. Martinov maintains, as is well known, that civil war and War Communism are "Trotskyism." This 
doctrine has now acquired a vast popularity. The creation of industrial armies, the militarization of labor 
and other measures flowing inevitably, just as did food distribution, from the conditions of that epoch, 
are portrayed by philistines and vulgarians as manifestations of "Trotskyism." On what side did Lenin 
stand in these questions? 

In the organization section of the Seventh Congress of the Soviets, we were debating the question of 
bureaucratism in the directing centers. In my speech I pointed out that bossism might choke our 
industries; that centralism is not an absolute principle; that the necessary coordination between local 
initiative and the leadership of the center had yet to be found in practice. Lenin in his speech emphasized 
his full agreement with me on centralism and added: 

"Let me say in conclusion that I agreed entirely with comrade Trotsky when he said that there have been 
some very wrong attempts made here to present our disputes as a disagreement between workers and 
peasants and to mix up with this question, the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat." (Speech on 
Dec. 8, 1918, Collected Works, Vol. XVI, p.433.) 

"Our disputes" — this means those very prolonged disputes in which Lenin and Trotsky were on one 
side; Rykov, Tomsky, Larin and others, on the other side. In these disputes, as in so many others, Stalin 
remained behind the scenes maneuvering and waiting. 

49. At the caucus of the Bolshevik fraction of the AU-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions, January 
12, 1920, Lenin had the following to say on the subject of "our disputes" with Rykov, Tomsky and 
others: 

"Who started this disgusting departmental squabble? Not comrade Trotsky. There is none of it in his 
theses. It was comrades Lomov, Rykov and Larin. Every one of them holds the highest office. They are 
all members of the Presidium of the All-Russian Council of National Economy. Among them is the 
chairman of the Council who has so many titles that if I wanted to list them all I should lose five minutes 
of my ten minute speech. . . . Rykov and others have got up here and started a disgusting literary 
squabble. Comrade Trotsky posed the question of new problems and they have started a departmental 
polemic with the Seventh Congress of the Soviets. Of course, we know that comrades Lomov, Rykov 



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and Larin did not say this directly in their extremely stupid article. As some orator here has said: 'You 
must not indulge in polemics with the Seventh Congress of the Soviets.' If the Seventh Congress of the 
Soviets made a mistake, correct that mistake in the meeting, say that it is a mistake, and stop babbling 
about centralization and decentralization. Comrade Rykov says that it is necessary to talk about 
centralization and decentralization because comrade Trotsky did not notice it. This man assumes that the 
people sitting here are so backward that they have forgotten the first lines of comrade Trotsky's theses 
which say: 'Economic administration assumes a general plan,' etc. Do you know how to read Russian, 
most condescending Rykov, Lomov and Larin? Let's go back to the time when you were sixteen years 
old and start babbling about centralization and decentralization. Is that the governmental work of the 
members of the collegium, of the Presidium of the All-Russian Council of National Economy? This is 
nonsense and pathetic rubbish — it is a shame and disgrace to waste time on it." 

And further: 

"War gave us the ability to carry discipline to a maximum and to centralize tens and hundreds of 
thousands of people, comrades, who died to save the Soviet Republic. Without that we should have all 
gone to hell." 

I might add that this speech, which is at the disposition of the Lenin Institute, has not been published 
simply because it is inconvenient for the present "historians." The concealment from the party of a part of 
our ideological inheritance from Lenin is a necessary element in the departure from the Leninist course. 
The speech of Lenin quoted above will be brought forward when the time comes to decapitate Rykov. 

50. About my work on the railway transport service, Lenin said at the Eighth Congress of the Soviets: 

You have seen already, by the way, from the theses of comrade Emshanov and comrade Trotsky that 

in this sphere [the re-establishment of our transport] we have to do with a real plan, looking ahead many 
years. Order No. 1042 J261 reckons on five years. In five years we can restore our transport, reduce the 
number of broken-down locomotives and, if you please, as the most difficult I emphasize in the ninth 
thesis the indication that we might even shorten that period, as has been done. 

"When big plans are made based on a many years' calculation, there are often skeptics who say: 'How can 
we calculate years ahead? God help us to do what we have to do right now.' Comrades, it is necessary to 
learn how to combine both. You can't work without having a plan that assumes a long period and serious 
success. That this is necessary is proved by the indubitable improvement of the transport work. I want to 
call your attention to that place in the ninth thesis where it says that the term for re-establishment would 
be four and a half years but that it is already shortened because we are working above normal. The term 
is already cut down to three and a half years. That is the way we should work in the other branches of our 
industry." (Speech on Dec. 2, 1920, Collected Works, Vol. XVII, pp. 423f.) 

I remark here that a year after I had issued Order No. 1042, in the order of comrade Dzerzhinsky, 
"Concerning the Fundamental Principles of Further Work of the People's Commissariat of Means of 
Communication," for May 27, 1921, we read: 

"Owing to the fact that the lowering of the norms set by Orders No. 1042 and 1157, the first brilliant 
experiment in planned industrial work, is temporary, and due to the existing fuel crisis . . . measures must 
be taken to support and restore the equipment and the shops. ..." 

51. In 1924, Zinoviev put in circulation a charge against Trotsky that by issuing the railway "Order No. 

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1042," Trotsky almost mined the transportation system. With this for a canvas, Stalin, Yaroslavsky and 
Rudzutak later embroidered various designs. In its day the legend made the rounds of all the publications 
of the Comintern. We have already quoted Lenin's and Dzerzhinsky's real opinions concerning Order 
No. 1042 and its significance for transportation. But there is comment of a more recent origin. In the 
Yearbook of the Communist International issued in 1928, that is, on the eve of the campaign against 
Trotsky, the article entitled "The Transportation System of the R.S.F.S.R. and Its Re-establishment" has 
the following to say: 

"At that time the transportation system was already completely disorganized. Not only was there no talk 
of ree-'Stab lishing it but matters had reached such a stage that in the Council of Labor and Defense, 
Professor Lomonosov, a mem ber of the Collegium of the People's Commissariat of Means of 
Communication, made a report to the effect that the transportation system was on the verge of complete 
and inevitable stoppage. Comrade Trotsky, on taking charge of transportation, advanced two slogans 
which proved of decisive significance not only for transportation but for the econolny of the country as a 
whole. . . . Order No. 1042 is an historical event. According to that order, the locomotive park should 
have been restored in five years. Communist propaganda based on that order and communist enthusiasm 
called forth by it must be regarded as the highest level attained by the enthusiastic readiness of the 
masses for heroic achievements in labor." (Yearbook of the Communist International, Petro 
grad-Moscow, 1923, p. 363..) 

You will observe that "Order No. 1042" served different functions at different periods. 

52. As to the alleged attempt on my part to shut down the Putilov shops: In comrade Rykov's theses 
written in October 1927-that is, four years after the question aros-- there appears again the legend about 
my urging the shutting down of the Putilov shops. In this case, as, by the way, in many others, comrade 
Rykov is acting very incautiously, collecting material against himself. 

The fact is that the proposal to shut down the Putilov shops was introduced in the Political Bureau at the 
beginning of 1928 by comrade Rykov himself as Chairman of the All Russian Council of National 
Economy. Rykov demonstrated that the Putilov shops will not be needed in the course of the next ten 
years and that trying to maintain them artificially will have a harmful effect upon other factories. The 
Political Bureau — and I among others — took the data adduced by comrade Rykov for good coin. I was 
not the only one who voted for the closing of the Putilov shops upon the proposal of comrade Rykov. So 
did Stalin for that matter. Comrade Zinoviev was away on leave of absence. He protested against the 
decision. The question was raised again in the Political Bureau and the decision reversed. Thus the 
initiative in this affair was wholly in the hands of Rykov as Chairman of the All-Russian Council of 
National Economy. To what extent must the feeling of impunity have grown, when Rykov dares, after a 
short four years, to attribute to me his own "sin." However, don't worry. This fact will no doubt crop up 
again in a new form, when the time comes for Stalin to "reviews "Rykov. You won't have long to wait. 

53. You delude the party with tales about how "Lenin wanted to send Trotsky to the Ukraine as People's 
Commissar of Food Supplies." On that subject you confuse and twist the facts beyond recognition. I 
made many such journeys at the direction of the Central Committee. In full agreement with Lenin I went 
to the Ukraine to improve the organization of the coal industry in the Don Basin. In full agreement with 
Lenin I worked as Chairman of the Soviet of the Industrial Army in the Ural. It is perfectly true that 
Lenin insisted that I go to the Ukraine for two weeks — for two weeks! — in order to improve the 
organization of the food supplies. I got in touch with comrade Rakovsky by telephone. He informed me 



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that all the necessary measures to guarantee food for the workers' centers had been taken without my 
help. Vladimir Ilyich at first insisted upon my going but afterward abandoned the idea. That was all there 
was to it. It was a question of a practical fighting problem which Lenin con sidered the most important 
for the given moment. 

54. Here is what Lenin said at the Eighth AU-Russian Congress of the Soviets, December 22, 1920, on 
the question of my journey to the Don Basin: 

"Coal from the Don Basin which we were receiving at the rate of 25,000,000 poods a month has now 
reached 50,000,- 000, thanks to the work of the Plenipotentiary Commission which was sent to the Don 
Basin with comrade Trotsky as chairman and which took the decision that experienced and responsible 
workers should be assigned there. At present, comrade Piatakov has been sent there to direct the work." 
(Collected Works, Vol. XVII, p. 422.) 

55. A propos of this: Comrade Piatakov was crowded out of the Don Basin by the underground intrigues 
of Stalin. Lenin considered this a serious blow to the coal industry, expressed his indignation against it in 
the Political Bureau and protested publicly against the disorganizing activities of Stalin. 

"That we have had immense success was demonstrated especially, for example, in the Don Basin where 
such comrades as Piatakov have been working with extraordinary devotion and with extraordinary 
success in the sphere of the large- scale industries." (Lenin's report at the Ninth Congress of the Soviets, 
Dec.23, 1921. Collected Works, Vol. XVIII, Pt. 1, p.408.) 

"In the central management of the coal industry stood people not only of undoubted devotion but people 
of real education and great ability, and I think I make no mistake if I say, talented people, and, therefore, 
the attention of the Central Committee was directed thither. . . . We, the Central Committee, have after all 
had a certain amount of experience and we decided unanimously not to remove the managing groups.. .. I 
made inquiries among the Ukrainian comrades. And comrade Ordjonikidze I asked especially, and also 
the Central Committee directed him to go there and find out what was happening. Quite evidently there 
was intrigne there and every other kind of mess which the Bureau of Party History will be unable to 
unravel in ten years, should they ever under take the job. But the practical result was that, contrary to the 
unanimous orders of the Central Committee, the manag ing group was replaced by another. '' (Lenin's 
report at the Eleventh Party Congress, March 27, 1923.) 

It is known to all the members of the old Political Bureau — Stalin best of all — that the acrid words of 
Lenin about intrigue against devoted, educated and talented leaders in the Don Basin referred to the 
intrigue of Stalin against Piatakov. 

56. During the Ninth Congress of the Soviets in Decem ber 1921, Lenin wrote some theses concerning 
the funda mental problems of industrial construction. I remember I answered that the theses were 
excellent and that there was only one point lacking, that about the specialists. (In a few words I indicated 
the contents of that point.) The same day I received the following letter from Vladimir Ilyich: 

''Strictly confidential 

"Comrade Trotsky: 

"I am sitting in a meeting of non-party members with Kalinin. He advises me to make a short speech on 
that reso lution which I introduced (and to which you proposed an amendment, entirely correct, about the 



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Specialists). 

"Couldn't you undertake a very short report on that reso lution on Wednesday-at the Plenum of thie 
congress. 

"Your military report is, of course, ready and you will be through with it on Tuesday. 

"It is impossible for me to undertake a second speech at the congress. Drop me a note or send a 
telephonogram. It will be best if you agree, and it can be confirmed by telephone with the vote of the 
Political Bureau. 

"Lenin." 

Our solidarity on the fundamental problems of socialist construction was so complete that Vladimir 
Ilyich considered it possible to authorize me to make a report in his place on those questions. I remember 
that I persuaded him by tele phone to appear himself on this important matter if only his health permitted. 
In the end that was done. 

DURING THE LAST PERIOD OF LENIN'S LIFE 

57. The falsifications and fictions in relation to the last period of Lenin's life are especially numerous. It 
would behoove Stalin to be extremely cautious about this period when Vladimir Ilyich arrived at certain 
final conclusions about Stalin. 

It is naturally difilcult to expound the inner history of the Political Bureau during Vladimir Ilyich's active 
life. There were no m]nutes taken and only the decisions were recorded. That is why it is so easy to lift 
out separate, completely insignificant episodes, distort them and puff them up or, indeed, simply invent 
"disagreements" where there was not a sign of one. Really shameful in its stupidity is the legend about 
"the cuckoo" which is supposed to indicate, in retro spect, my "pessimism." The "cuckoo" is the last 
resort of Stalin and Bukharin when they are driven to the wall by arguments or events. The "cuckoo" is 
borrowed from my conversation with Vladimir Ilyich in the first period of the N.E.P. The drain of our 
limited state resources awakened in me a serious alarm both from the point of view of the waste of the 
already limited resources of the workers' government as well as from the point of view of the possibility 
of swift accu mulations of private capital at this critical period. I talked about that more than once with 
Vladimir Ilyich. In order to investigate the industrial processes in progress in the coun try, I organized at 
that time the so-called Moscow Amalgamated Network. In one of my conversations with Lenin, 
refer-ring to certain flagrant examples of wastefulness, I used approximately this phrase: "If we 
administer things that way, the cuckoo will soon he singing our death-knell." Some thing of that kind. 
Phrases like that were repeated by every one of us more than once. How many times did Lenin exclaim: 

"If this keeps on, we're gone for sure." It was a strong statement but by no means a "pessimistic" 
prognosis. 

That is approximately the history of the "cuckoo" with the dividends of which Stalin and Bukharin are 
trying to pay their debts for the Chinese Revolution, the Anglo-Russian Committee, the economic 
leadership and the party regime. 

To be sure, practical disagreements arose often enough in the Political Bureau and among them 
disagreements between Vladimir Ilyich and me. The whole question is, what place did these 
disagreements occupy in the common work? On that theme the Stalin faction, with extreme lack of 



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caution, is put ting into circulation spiteful legends which go to pieces at the first touch of real fact, and 
which will ultimately turn wholly against Stalin. 

58. To refute these legends it is necessary to take first of all the period of Lenin's illness-more accurately, 
the period between the two heavy attacks of it- when the doctors permitted Lenin to take part in the work, 
and when many important questions were decided by correspondence. In this correspondenc-^that is, in 
unquestionable documents-it is possible, to see what debated questions arose in the Central Committee, 
who had disagreements with whom, and in part also what was the attitude of Vladimir Ilyich toward indi 
vidual comrades. I will adduce a few examples. 

THE MONOPOLY OF FOREIGN TRADE 

59. In the Central Committee at the end of 1922, there arose a very fundamental disagreement on the 
question of the monopoly of foreign trade. I do not want to exaggerate its significance in retrospect, but 
the political groupings created in the Central Committee around that question were, never theless, very 
characteristic. 

On the initiative of comrade Sokolnikov, the Central Committee adopted a decision which meant a 
serious breach in the monopoly of foreign trade. Vladimir Ilyich was decisively against this resolution. 
Learning from Krassin that I was not present at the Plenum of the Central Committee and that I had 
expressed myself against the resolution, Lenin entered into correspondence with me. Those letters are not 
yet pub lished, any more than the correspondence of Lenin with the Political Bureau on the question of 
the monopoly of foreign trade. The censorship established over our inheritance from Lenin is ruthless. 
You publish two or three words written by Lenin on a scrap of paper, if only they may directly or 
indirectly be used to injure the Opposition. You suppress documents of vast and fundamental 
significance, if they directly or indirectly involve Stalin. 

I quote the letters from Lenin touching that question: 

"Comrade Trotsky: 

'T am sending you a letter from Krestinsky. Write immediately. Do you agree? I will fight at the Plenum 
for the monopoly. And you? 

"Yours, 

"Lenin. 

"P.S. Better return it quick '' 

"To Comrades Frumkin and Stomoniakov, [Non-members of the Central Committee with whom Lenin entered Into 
a "conspiracy" against the majority of the committee ! — L. T. ] copy to Trotsky: 

"In view of my increasing sickness, I cannot be present at the Plenum. I am conscious how awkwardly, 
and even worse than awkwardly, I am behaving in relation to you, but all the same, I cannot possibly 
speak. 

"Today I have received the enclosed letter from comrade Trotsky, with which I agree in all essentials, 
with the exception perhaps of the last lines about the State Planning Commission. I will write Trotsky of 
my agreement with him and ask him to take upon himself, in view of my sickness, the defense of my 



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position at the Plenum. 

"I think that this defense ought to be divided into three parts. First, the defense of the fundamental 
principle of the monopoly of foreign trade, its full and final confirmation; second, delegate to a special 
commission the detailed con sideration of those practical plans for realizing this monopoly which are 
advanced by Avanesov-at least half of this com mission ought to consist of representatives from the 
Commissariat of Foreign Trade; third, the question of the work of the State Planning Commission ought 
to be considered separately. And by the way, I think that there will be no disagreement between me and 
Trotsky, if he confines himself to the demand that the work of the State Planning Commission, carried on 
under the aegis of the development of state Indus try, should give its opinion about all parts of the 
activity of the People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade. 

'T hope to write again today or tomorrow, and send you my declaration on the essence of the given 
problem at the Plenum of the Central Committee. At any rate, I think that this question is of such 
fundamental importance that in case I do not get the agreement of the Plenum, I ought to carry it into the 
party congress, and before that, announce the exist ing disagreement in the fraction of our party at the 
coming congress of the Soviets. 

"Lenin. 

"Dictated to L. F. [Fotieva, Lenin's Secretary.] 

"Dec. 12, 1922." 

"To Comrade Trotsky, copy to Frumkin and Stomoniakov: 

"Comrade Trotsky: 

"I received your comment on the letter of Krestinsky and the plans of Avanesov. I think that we are in 
maximum agreement, and I think that the question of the State Plan ning Commission in the given 
situation excludes (or postpones) the dispute as to whether the State Planning Commis sion needs to have 
administrative rights. 

"At any rate, I earnestly ask you to take upon yourself at the coming Plenum, the defense of our common 
opinion of the unconditional necessity of preserving and ree--nforcing the monopoly of foreign trade. 

"Inasmuch as the preceding Plenum adopted a decision going wholly contrary to the monopoly of foreign 
trade, and since it is impossible to yield on this question, I think, as I say in my letter to Frumkin and 
Stomoniakov, that in case of our defeat we must carry the question into the party con gress. For that we 
will need a short exposition of our dis agreement before the party fraction of the coming congress of the 
Soviets. If I can, I will write one, and I should be very glad if you would do the same thing. Vacillation 
on this ques tion will do us untold injury. The argument against the monopoly amounts to an accusation 
of inadequacy against our apparatus. But our apparatus is inadequate here and everywhere, and to 
renounce the monopoly because of the inadequacy of the apparatus would be to pour the baby out with 
the bath. 

"Lenin. 

"Dictated by telephone to L. F. 



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"Dec.18, 1922." 

"To Comrade Trotsky: 

"I send you a letter received today from Frumkin. I also think that it is absolutely necessary to settle this 
question once and for all. If there is any fear that this question excites me and might have a bad effect on 
my health, I think this is wholly wrong because I should be ten thousand times more excited by a delay 
which would make completely unstable our policy upon one of the fundamental questions. Therefore, I 
call your attention to the enclosed letter and earnestly ask you to support an immediate consideration of 
this question. I am convinced that if we are in danger of losing out, it would be far more advantageous to 
lose out before the party congress, and immediately turn to the fraction of the Soviet congress than to 
lose out after the congress. Perhaps such a compromise as this would be accepted: Adopt the decision 
about confirmation of the monopoly now but raise the ques tion nevertheless at the party congress and 
make that agr-- ment now. No other compromise, in my opinion, would be to our interest in any 
circumstances. 

"Lenin. 

"Dictated by telephone to L. F. 

"Dec.15, 1922." 

"Comrade Trotsky: 

"I think we have arrived at a full agreement. I ask you to announce our solidarity in the Plenum. I am in 
hope that our decision will go through, for a part of those voting agai-st in October have now come over 
partially or completely to our side. 

"If, unexpectedly, our decision does not go through, we will turn to our fraction of the Soviet congress 
and declare that we are going to carry the question into the party congress. 

"Notify me in that case and I will send my declaration. If this question should be removed from the order 
of the day of the present Plenum (which I do.not expect and against which, of course, you must protest 
with all your strength in our common name), then I think we must turn just the same to the fraction of the 
Soviet congress and demand the transfer of this question to the party congress. For any more waver ing is 
absolutely impermissible. 

"All the materials which I sent you, you can keep until after the Plenum. 

"Yours, 

"Lenin. 

"Dec.15, 1922." 

"Leon Davidovich: 

"Professor Forster today permitted Vladimir ilyich to dictate a letter and he dictated to me the following 
letter to you: 

"'Comrade Trotsky: 



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'"It seems we captured the position without firing a shot by mere movements of manoeuvre. I propose 
that we should not stop but continue the attack, and to that effect introduce a resolution to raise the 
question at the party congress of re-enforcing the monopoly of foreign trade and of measures looking to 
its better enactment. Announce this at the frac tion of the Soviet congress. I hope you have no objection 
and wrn not fail to make a report at the fraction. 

" 'N. Lenin.' 

"Vladimir Ilyich also asks you to telephone an answer. 

"N. K. UHa nova. 

"Dec.21, 1922." 

Neither the content nor the tone of these letters needs any comment. 

On the question of foreign trade, the Central Committee adopted a new decision annulling the old one. 
The joking words in Lenin's letter about a victory gained "without firing a shot," refer to that. 

It remains to ask: Suppose that among those voting for the resolution disrupting the monopoly of foreign 
trade had appeared the name of Trotsky, while Stalin, in agreement with Lenin, had fought for the 
annuUment of that resolution, how many books, brochures and "cribs" would have been written in proof 
of the petty bourgeois and kulak deviation of Trotsky? 

THE QUESTION OF THE STATE PLANNING COMMISSION 

60. 1 related our "wastefulness" to the planlessness of our national economy in general. There were 
differences in the Political Bureau on the question of planned management and the role of the State 
Planning Commission. Among them, differences between Vladimir Ilyich and me. There were debates 
about the composition of the planning bureaus. 

In his letter to the members of the Political Bureau on the question of the State Planning Commission, 
Vladimir Ilyich wrote as follows: 

"As to giving legislative functions to the State Planning 

Commission: 

"Comrade Trotsky advanced this idea, it seems, long ago. I opposed it then because I thought that there 
would be in that case a fundamental incoherence in our system of legis lative institutions, but after 
attentively reconsidering the matter, I find that there is an essentially healthy thought here: The State 
Planning Commission stands somewhat apart from our legislative institutions, notwithstanding the fact 
that as a meeting center of the leaders, experts and representatives of science and technology, it 
possesses, as a matter of fact, the best possible data for a correct judgment of things. ... In that respect, I 
think I should and must come over to comrade Trotsky, but not in respect to giving the chairmanship of 
the State Planning Commission to any one of our political leaders, or to the Chairman of the Supreme 
Council of National Economy, and so forth." (Dec. 27, 1922.) 

These disagreements about the State Planning Commis sion were mentioned above in Lenin's letters to 
me on the question of the monopoly of foreign trade. Lenin there pro posed to postpone that question, 
describing it-not quite accurately-as a question of the administrative rights of the State Planning 

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Commission. In insisting on the all-sided rceenforcement of the State Planning Commission, the sub 
ordination to it of the planning work of all the departments, I did not propose to give the State Planning 
Commission administrative rights, believing that they ought to be concen trated as before in the hands of 
the Council of Labor and 

Defense. But that is not the essential thing now. Both the character and the tone of the above letter show 
how calmly, and purely as a matter of business, Lenin regarded our pre viously existing disagreements, 
proposing to the Political Bureau to resolve those disagreements in the direction of a very close approach 
to the views which I had defended. How many lies have been told the party on this subject! 

LENIN'S LETTERS ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION 

61. 1 will not quote here Lenin's principal letter against Stalin on the national question. It is printed in the 
stenographic reports of the Plenum of July 1926 and, moreover, it is being passed around in individual 
copies. They will fail to conceal the letter. [To my regret, at the moment of the publication of this hook, a copy of 
the letter is not in my possession. It is of exceptional interest. — L. T.] But there are other documents on the same 
theme, completely unknown to the party. The keepers of the archives and the historians of the Stalin 
school are taking every measure to prevent those documents from appearing. They will continue to do so. 
They are quite capable, in fact, of simply destroying them. 

For that reason I think it necessary to quote here the most important excerpts from an earlier letter of 
Lenin and the answer of Stalin on the question of the structure of the U.S.S.R. Lenin's letter, dated 
Sept.27, 1922, was addressed to comrade Kamenev, a copy being sent to all the members of the Political 
Bureau. Here is the beginning of the letter: 

"You probably have already received from Stalin the reso lution of his commission on the admission of 
the independent republics into the R.S.F.S.R. 

"If you have not received it, get it from the secretary and please read it immediately. I spoke about it 
yesterday with Sokolnikov, today with Stalin, tomorrow I will see Mdivani (a Georgian communist 
suspected of advocating 'independence'). 

"In my opinion the question is supremely important. Stalin is somewhat inclined to hurry. You must 
think it over well; Zinoviev too. You once intended to take this matter up and did so to some extent. 

"Stalin has already agreed to one concession in Section I; instead of saying 'entry' into the R.S.F.S.R. to 
say: 'formal unification with the R.S.F.S.R. in a union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia.' I trust the 
spirit of this concession is obvious. We acknowledge ourselves on an equal basis with the Ukrainian 
S.S.R. and the other republics and together with them on the basis of equality we enter into a new union, 
a new federation — 'the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia'." 

There follows a whole series of Lenin's corrections made in the same spirit. In the concluding part of his 
letter, Lenin says: 

"Stalin agreed to postpone introducing the resolution in the Political Bureau until my arrival. I arrive 
Monday, October 2. 1 should like to have a meeting with you and Rykov for a couple of hours-in the 
morning, say, from one to two and, if necessary, in the evening, say five to seven or six to eight. 

"Here is my preliminary project. On the basis of conver sations with Mdivani and other comrades, I will 
fight also for other changes. I urge you to do the same and answer me. 

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"Yours, 

"Lenin. 

"P.S. Send copies to aU members of the Political Bureau." 

Stalin sent his answer to Lenin to the members of the Political Bureau the same day, Sept.27, 1922. 1 
quote from his answer two important passages: 

"Lenin's correction to paragraph 2, proposing to create, along with the AU-Russian Central Executive 
Committee of the R.S.F.S.R., a Central Executive Committee of the Federa tion should not, in my 
opinion, be adopted. The existence of two Central Executive Committees in Moscow, one of which will 
obviously represent a lower house' and the other an 'upper house' will give us nothing but conflict and 
debate." 

And further: 

"4. On the subject of paragraph 4, in my opinion, com rade Lenin himself 'hurried' a little, demanding a 
fusion of the Commissariats of Finance, Food Supply, Labor and National Economy with the 
commissariats of the Federation. There is hardly a doubt that this 'hurriedness' will 'supply fuel to the 
advocates of independence,' to the detriment of the national liberalism of comrade Lenin. 

"5. Comrade Lenin's correction of paragraph 5 is, in my opinion, superfluous. 

'T Stalin." 

This extraordinarily illuminating correspondence, con cealed, like many similar documents from the 
party, preceded the famous letter of Lenin on the national question. In his remarks upon Stalin's draft, 
Lenin is exceptionally reserved and mild in his expression. Lenin still hoped, in that period, to adjust the 
matter without a major conflict. He gently accuses Stalin of "hurrying." Stalin's accusation against 
Mdivani of "independence," Lenin places in quotation marks, obviously dissociating himself from that 
accusation. Moreover, Lenin especially emphasizes the fact that he is intro ducing his corrections on the 
basis of conversations with Mdivani and other comrades. 

Stalin's answer, on the contrary, is marked by rudeness; the concluding phrase of the fourth point is 
especially worthy of attention: 

"There is hardly a doubt that this 'hurriedness' [Lenin's 'hurriedness'-L. T.] will supply fuel to the advocates 
of independence, to the detriment of the national liberalism [!] of comrade Lenin." 

Thus Lenin had come to the point of being accused of national liberalism! 

The further course of the struggle over the national ques tion showed Lenin that he could not straighten 
things out by means of internal and, so to speak, family methods of influencing Stalin; that it was 
necessary to appeal to the Congress and to the party. With this purpose, Lenin wrote in several 
installments his letter on the national question. 

62. Vladimir Ilyich attached enormous importance to the "Georgian" question, not only because he 
feared the consequences of a false national policy in Georgia — a fear which had been wholly confirmed 
— but also because in that question was revealed to him the falseness of Stalin's whole course on the 
national question. The exhaustive and fundamental letter of Lenin on the national question is concealed 

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from the party to this day. The pretense that Lenin did not intend his letter to be read to the party is false 
to the core. Did Lenin intend his remarks in note books or on margins of the hooks he read to be 
published? The fact is that you publish everything which directly or indirectly strikes at the Opposition 
but you hide the programmatic letter of Lenin giving his fundamental position on the national question. 

Here are two quotations from this letter: 

'T think that here the hastiness and administrative impulsiveness of Stalin played a fatal r61e, and also his 
spite fulness against the notorious 'social nationalism.' Spitefulness in general plays the worst possible 
r61e in politics." (From Lenin's note of December 80, 1922.) 

That is clear enough! 

"It is, of course, necessary to hold Stalin and Dzerzhinsky responsible for all this out-and-out Great 
Russian nationalistic campaign." (From Lenin's letter of December 31, 1922.) 

Vladimir Ilyich sent me this letter at the moment when he felt that he would hardly be able to appear at 
the Twelfth Congress. Here are the notes which I received from him in the course of the last two days of 
his participation in political life: 

"Strictly confidential. Personal. 

"Esteemed Comrade Trotsky: 

"I earnestly ask you to undertake the defense of the Georgian affair at the Central Committee of the 
party. That affair is now under 'prosecution' at the hands of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky and I cannot rely on 
their impartiality. Indeed, quite the contrary! If you would agree to undertake its defense, I could be at 
rest. If for some reason you do not agree, send me back all the papers. I will consider that a sign of your 
disagreement. 

"With the very best comradely greetings, 

"Lenin. 

"Dictated to M. V. "(Checked by M. Volodicheva) 

"March 5, 1923." 

"To Comrade Trotsky: 

"To his letter, sent to you by telephone, Vladimir Ilyich asks me to add for your information that 
comrade Kamenev is going to Georgia on Wednesday, and Vladimir Ilyich asks me to find out whether 
you do not want to send something there from you. 

"M. Volodicheva." 

"To Comrades Mdivani, Makharadze and others: 

(copy to Comrades Trotsky and Kamenev) "Esteemed comrades: 

"I am with you in this matter with all my heart. I am outraged at the rudeness of Ordjonikidze and the 
connivance of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky. I am preparing for you notes and a speech. 



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"With esteem, 

"Lenin. 

"March 6, 1923." 

"To Comrade Kamenev (copy to comrade Trotsky): 
"Leon Borisovich: 

"Supplementing our telephone conversation, I commumcate to you as acting chairman of the Political 
Bureau the following: 

"As I already told you, December 31, 1922, Vladimir Ilyich dictated an article on the national question. 

"This question has worried him extremely and he was pre paring to speak on it at the party congress. Not 
long before his last illness he told me that he would publish this article, but later. After that he took sick 
without giving final directions. 

"Vladimir Ilyich considered this article to be a guiding one and extremely important. At his direction it 
was communi cated to comrade Trotsky whom Vladimir Ilyich authorized to defend his point of view 
upon the given question at the party congress in view of their solidarity upon it. 

"The only copy of the article in my possession is preserved at the direction of Vladimir Ilyich in his 
secret archive. 

"I bring the above facts to your attention. 

"I could not do it earlier since I returned to work only today after a sickness. 

"L. Fotieva 

"(Personal secretary of Comrade Lenin) 

"March 16, 1923." 

After all the slanders with which they have surrounded the question of Lenin's attitude to me, I cannot 
refrain from calling attention to the signature of his first letter — "with the very best comradely 
greetings." Whoever knows Lenin's par simony of words and his manner of conversation and cor 
respondence will realize that Lenin did not sign those words to his letter accidentally. It was not 
accidental either that Stalin, when he was compelled to read this correspondence at the Plenum of July 
1926, substituted for the words "with the very best comradely greetings" the official phrase "with 
communist greetings." Here again Stalin was true to himself. 

68. The above quoted notes of Vladimir Ilyich on the national question require a brief explanation. 
Vladimir Ilyich was at the time ill in bed. My own health was poor. Vladimir Ilyich's secretaries, 
comrades Glyasser and Fotieva, came to me during the last day before the second and final illness of 
Lenin. When Fotieva brought me the so-called "national" letter of Lenin, I suggested that since Kamenev 
was leaving that day for Georgia to the party congress, it might be advisable to show him the letter so 
that he might undertake the necessary measures. Fotieva replied: "I don't know. Vladimir Ilyich didn't 
instruct me to transmit the letter to comrade Kamenev, but I can ask him." A few minutes later she 
returned with the following message: "It is entirely out of the question. Vladimir Ilyich says that 



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Kamenev would show the letter to Stalin and Stalin would make a rotten compro mise in order then to 
deceive." 

However, almost immediately thereafter, it may have been within half an hour, Fotieva returned from 
Vladimir Ilyich with another message. According to her, Vladimir Ilyich decided to act immediately and 
wrote the above quoted note to Mdivani and Makharadze, with instructions to transmit copies to 
Kamenev and myself. 

"How do you explain this change?" I asked Fotieva. 

"Evidently," she replied, "Vladiiinir Ilyich is feeling worse and is in haste to do everything he can." 

THE QUESTION OF THE CENTRAL CONTROL COMMISSION AND THE COMMISSARIAT 

OF WORKERS' AND PEASANTS' INSPECTION 

64. Lenin's proposal to reorganize the Commissariat of Workers' and Peasants' Inspection (Rabkrin) was 
met with extreme hostility by Stalin's group. I told of this in very restrained language in one of my 
former letters to the members of the Central Committee. I reproduce the passage here: 

"But how did the Political Bureau react to Lenin's project for the reorganization of Rabkrin? Comrade 
Bukharin hesitated to print Lenin's article, while Lenin, on his side, insisted upon its immediate 
appearance. N. K. Krupskaya told me by telephone about this article and asked me to take steps to get it 
printed as soon as possible. At the meeting of the Political Bureau, called immediately upon my demand, 
all those present-comrades Stalin, Molotov, Kuibyshev, Rykov, Kalinin, Bukharin — were not only 
against comrade Lenin's plan but against the very printing of the article. The mem hers of the Secretariat 
were particularly harsh and categorical in their opposition. In view of the insistent demand of comrade 
Lenin that the article should be shown to him in print, comrade Kuibyshev, afterwards the head of 
Rabkrin proposed at the above-mentioned session of the Political Bureau that one special number of 
Pravda should be printed with Lenin's article and shown to him in order to placate him, while the article 
itself should be concealed from the party. 

"I argued that the radical reform proposed by comrade Lenin was progressive in itself-provided, of 
course, it were properly carried out-but that even if one held that the contrary was true, it would be 
absurd and ridiculous to defend the party against the proposals of comrade Lenin. I was answered with 
arguments, all in the same spirit of formalism: 'We are the Central Committee. We will take the 
responsibility. We will decide.' I was supported only by com rade Kamenev who appeared at the meeting 
of the Political Bureau almost an hour late. 

"The chief argument which induced them to print the article was that an article by Lenin could not be 
concealed from the party in any case. Later on that article became a special weapon in the hands of those 
who had not wanted to print it, a weapon which they attempted to use against me! Comrade Kuibyshev, 
then a member of the Secretariat, was placed at the head of the Central Control Commission. Instead of a 
struggle against Lenin's plan, a policy of 'draw ing its teeth' was adopted. Whether the Central Control 
Commission acquired in this way the character of an inde pendent, impartial institution, defending and 
confirming party justice and unity against all kinds of administrative excesses-it is hardly necessary to go 
into that question since the answer is perfectly clear." (Trotsky, Letter to the Members of the C.C. and 
the C.C.C.,Oct.23, 1923.) 

The conduct of Stalin upon this question first clearly proved to me that the proposal to reorganize the 

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Central Control Commission and the Central Committee was directed solely and entirely against the 
bureaucratic power of Stalin, then already excessive, and against his disloyalty. Hence Stalin's stubborn 
opposition to Lenin's plan. 

LENIN'S LAST PLANS 

65. At the Presidium of the Central Control Commission I reported about my last conversation with 
Vladimir Ilyich, not long before the second attack of his illness. I quote from the report: 

"Lenin summoned me to his room in the Kremlin, spoke of the terrible growth of bureaucratism in our 
Soviet apparatus and of the necessity of finding a lever with which to get at that problem. He proposed to 
create a special commission of the Central Committee and asked me to take active part in the work. I 
answered him: 'Vladimir Ilyich, it is my conviction that in the present struggle with bureaucratism in the 
Soviet apparatus, we must not forget that there is taking place, both in the provinces and in the center, a 
special selection of functionaries and specialists, party and non-party, around certain ruling party 
personalities and groups — in the provinces, in the districts, in the party locals and in the center — that 
is, the Central Committee. Attacking a functionary you run into the party leader. The specialist is a 
member of his retinue. Under present circumstances, I could not undertake this work.' 

"Vladimir Ilyich reflected a moment and — here I quote him verbatim — said: "That is, I propose a 
struggle with Soviet bureaucratism and you are proposing to include the bureaucratism of the 
Organization Bureau of the Party." [Stalin as General Secretary was at the head of this Bureau.-L. T.] 

"I laughed at the unexpectedness of this, because no such finished formulation of the idea was in my 
mind. 

"I answered: 'I suppose that's it.' 

"Then Vladimir Ilyich said: 'Very well, then, I propose a bloc' 

"I said: 'It is a pleasure to form a bloc with a good man.' 

"At the end of our conversation, Vladimir Ilyich said that he would propose the creation by the Central 
Committee of a commission to fight bureaucratism in general,' and through that we would be able to 
reach the Organization Bureau of the Central Committee. The organizational side he promised to think 
over 'further'! At that we parted. I then waited two weeks for the bell to summon me but Ilyich's health 
became continually worse and he was soon confined to bed. After that Vladimir Ilyich sent me his letters 
on the national question through his secretaries. And so that work was never carried through." 

In the essence of the matter that plan of Lenin was wholly directed against Stalin. It flowed from the 
same train of thought which found its expression in the so-called "Testa ment of Lenin." 

66. Yes, I had disagreements with Lenin. But Stalin's attempt, relying upon these "facts," to distort the 
general character of our relations goes to pieces completely when confronted with the facts of that period 
when, as I have said, things were decided, not in conversation and in votes, of which no record remained, 
but by means of correspondence; that is, in the interval between the first and second illnesses of Lenin. 
To summarize: 

(a) On the national question Vladimir Ilyich was prepar ing for the Twelfth Party Congress a decisive 
attack upon Stalin. Of this his secretaries told me in his name and at his direction. The phrase of Lenin 



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that they repeated oftenest of all was: "Vladimir Ilyich is preparing a bomb against Stalin." 

(b) In his article about the Rabkrin, Lenin says: 

"The People's Commissariat of Rabkrin does not enjoy at the present moment a shadow of authority. 
Everybody knows that a worse organized institution than our Commissariat of Rabkrin does not exist, 
and that in the present circumstances you cannot expect a thing of that Commissariat. ... As a matter of 
fact, what is the use of creating another commis sariat whose work is carried on any old way, not 
inspiring the slightest confidence, and whose word enjoys infinitely small authority? . 

"I ask any of the present leaders of Rabkrin or any of the people connected with it-can they tell me, in 
good con science, what is the practical use of such a Commissariat as Rabkrin. '' (Lenin, "Better Less, but 
Better," March 4, 1923.) 

Stalin stood at the head of Rabkrin throughout the first years of the revolution. Lenin's volley here was 
directed wholly against him. 

(c) In the same article we read: 

"(We have bureaucratism not only in the Soviet institu tions but also in the party.)" 

These words, clear enough in themselves, acquire an espe cially sharp significance in connection with 
my last conversa tion with Vladimir Ilyich, quoted above, where he spoke of our forming a "bloc" against 
the Organization Bureau of the Central Committee as the fountainhead of bureau cratism. The mild and 
typically Leninist remark in paren thesis was directed wholly against Stalin. 

(d) Of the Testament, it is needless to speak. It is filled with distrust of Stalin, his rudeness and 
disloyalty. It speaks of the possible misuse of power on his part and the danger, due to this, of a party 
split. The sole organizational inference indicated in the Testament, from all the characterizations made 
there is this: "Remove Stalin from the post of General Secretary." 

(e) Finally, the last letter which Lenin ever wrote in his life, or rather dictated, was a letter to Stalin 
breaking off all comradely relations with him. Comrade Kamenev told me of that letter on the same night 
it was written (March 5-6, 1923). Comrade Zinoviev told about that letter at the joint Plenum of the 
Central Committee and the Central Control Commission. The existence of the letter was confirmed in the 
minutes by the testimony of M. I. Ulianova. ("Documents on the subject of this incident exist" — says a 
declaration of M. Ulianova at the Presidium of the Plenum.) 

Enumerating the "warnings" which Lenin gave to Stalin, comrade Zinoviev said at the July Plenum, 
1926: 

"And the third warning consists of this: That at the begin ning of the year 1928, Vladimir Ilyich, in a 
personal letter to comrade Stalin, broke off all comradely relations with him." (Minutes, 4th issue, p. 32.) 

M. Ulianova tried to present the matter in such a way that the breaking off of comradely relations 
announced by Lenin to Stalin in the last letter before his death seemed to be evoked by personal and not 
political causes. (Minutes, 4th issue, p. 104.) 

Need we recall that with Lenin personal motives always derived from political, revolutionary, party 
causes? "Rudeness" and "disloyalty" are also personal qualities. But Lenin warned the party about them 



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not for "personal" but for party reasons. Lenin's letter, breaking off comradely relations with Stalin, had 
exactly the same character. That last letter was written after the letter on the national ques tion and after 
the Testament. Attempts are being made in vain to weaken the moral weight of the last letter of Lenin. 
The party has a right to know that letter! 

That is how the facts stand. That is how Stalin is deceiv mg the party. 

DISCUSSION DURING THE YEARS 1923-1927 

67. During Lenin's lifetime and especially at the time of the discussions over the Brest-Litovsk peace and 
over the trade unions, which have since been so grossly exaggerated and distorted, the word 
"Trotskyism" did not exist at all. [In this connection, the fact might be mentioned that Stalin insistently proposed on 
the eye of the Twelfth Congress that I make the political report for the Central Committee. He did so in agreement with 
Kamenev, who was then the acting chairman of the Political Bureau, and with the energetic support of Kalinin and others. 
I declined, partly on the ground that there were differences of opinion on industrial questions. "One can hardly say 
differences," objected Kalinin. "In the majority of cases, your proposals are axepted." — L. T.] The party held that 
whatever occasional differences there were, they unfolded on the historical foundations of Bol shevism. 
The extreme opponents of Lenin on the question of Brest-Litovsk were: Bukharin, Yaroslavsky, 
Kuibyshev, Soltz, Safarov and scores of other old Bolsheviks, who made up the faction of the "Left 
communists." They would have been legitimately amazed had it occurred to any one at that time to say 
that their position was "Trotskyism," especially since on all the fundamental issues which separated the 
Left com munists from Lenin, I was on the side of Lenin. 

The same must be said about the trade union discussion. The tendency to stress the administrative side 
grew out of the entire practice of War Communism and affected innumer able old Bolsheviks. If, at the 
time of the discussion, any one had mentioned such a thing as "Trotskyism" he would simply have been 
regarded as temporarily insane. The bogey of "Trotskyism" was projected after Lenin had withdrawn 
entirely from work, precisely at the time of the discussion of 1923. It was then that the "criticism of the 
theory of the permanent revolution" began for the purpose of stringing together the differences which had 
arisen on a new stage of historical development. They engaged in a struggle against Trotsky not because 
he had advanced a special theory of "Trotskyism." On the contrary, the critics artificially built a theory of 
"Trotskyism" in order to carry on the struggle against Trotsky. Some of the original critics confessed as 
much later on, when the groupings changed. [271 

THE PERMANENT REVOLUTION 

68. As to the theory of the permanent revolution, I shall devote special consideration to it at some future 
time. [Since that time the author has published a book entitled. The Permaneat Revolution (Pioneer 
Publishers, New York, 1931). The exposition of the theory is therefore ommitted here]. 

Here I limit myself to two references. 

In the beginning of 1918, in a brochure devoted to the October Revolution, Bukharin wrote: 

"The downfall of the Czarist regime was prepared by the entire preceding history of the revolution. But 
this down fall, and the victory of the proletariat supported by the poor peasantry, a victory which has at a 
single blow opened up unlimitable vistas throughout the world, is not yet the beginning of the organic 
epoch, . . . The Russian proletariat is confronted more sharply than ever before with the problem of the 
international revolution, . . . The grand total of relationships which have arisen in Europe leads to this 



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inevitable conclusion. Thus, the permanent revolution in Russia is passing into the European proletarian 
revolution. '' (From the Collapse ofCzarism to the Fall of the Bourgeoisie, p. 78. Our emphasis.) 

The brochure ends with the following words: 

"Into the powder magazine of old blood-stained Europe was thrown the torch of the Russian socialist 
revolution. It has not died. It lives. It is spreading. And it will inevitably merge with the great triumphant 
uprising of the world proletariat." (Ibid., p. 144.) 

How infinitely removed was Bukharin of that time from the theory of socialism in one country! 

It is common knowledge that Bukharin was the chief and indeed the sole theoretician of the entire 
campaign against "Trotskyism," summed up in the struggle against the theory of the permanent 
revolution. But at an earlier period when the lava of the revolutionary upheaval had not yet cooled, 
Bukharin, as we see, was unable to provide a characterization for revolution different from the one 
against which, a few years later, he was to wage a ruthless struggle. 

Bukharin's brochure was issued by the official party publishing house, Priboy, under the supervision of 
the Central Committee. Not only did no one declare that pamphlet heretical but, on the contrary, 
everyone accepted it as the official and unchallenged expression of the views of the Central Committee 
of the party. This brochure went through several editions in the course of the next few years. Together 
with another brochure devoted to the February Revolution it appeared in translations into German, 
French, English and other languages, under the general title. From the Collapse ofCzarism to the Fall of 
the Bourgeoisie. 

In 1923, the brochure was published — apparently for the last time — by the Kharkov party publishing 
house, Proletari. The preface to this edition expressed the conviction that this little book "will prove of 
great interest" not only to new members of the party, the youth and so forth, but also "to the Bolshevik 
Old Guard of the underground period of our party." 

That Bukharin is not very staunch in his views is sufficiently well known. But it is not a question of 
Bukharin himself. If we are to believe the legend created for the first time in the autumn of 1924, that 
there was an impassable abyss between Lenin's understanding of revolution and Trotsky's theory of the 
permanent revolution, and that the old generation of the party was brought up on the understanding of the 
irreconcilability of these two theories, then it is incomprehensible why Bukharin, at the beginning of 
1918, could preach this theory with impunity, calling it by its name — the theory of the permanent 
revolution. How did it happen that not a single person — literally nobody in the entire party — took issue 
with Bukharin? How and why did the official publishing house of the Central Committee publish this 
brochure? How and why did Lenin happen to keep silent? How and why did the Comintern publish in 
several foreign languages this brochure of Bukharin in defense of the permanent revolution? How and 
why did Bukharin's brochure retain its status as a party textbook up to the very death of Lenin? How and 
why was Bukharin's brochure republished as late as 1928 and warmly recommended both to the party 
youth and to the Bolshevik Old Guard in Kharkov — the future center of Stalinist zealots? 

This brochure of Bukharin's differs from his later writings and from the entire latter-day Stalinist 
historiography, not only in its characterization of the revolution, but also in its manner of portraying the 
participants of the revolution. For example, we find the following on page 131 of the Kharkov edition: 

"The focal point of political life became . . . not the pathetic Soviet of the Republic, but the impending 

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Congress of the Russian Revolution. In the center of this work of mobilization stood the Petersburg 
Soviet which demonstratively elected as its chairman, Trotsky, the most brilliant tribune of the 
proletarian uprising. 

And further, on page 188: 

"On the 25th of October, Trotsky, the brilliant and courageous tribune of the insurrection, the 
indefatigable and flaming herald of revolution, declared in the name of the Military Revolutionary 
Committee of the Petersburg Soviet, to the thunderous applause of the assembly, that 'the Provisional 
Government no longer exists.' And as living proof of this fact, greeted by a stormy ovation, Lenin 
appeared on the tribunal, liberated from illegality by the new revolution." 

In 1923-1924, the party was overwhelmed by the flood of so-called discussion against "Trotskyism." It 
wrecked a great many things that had been reared by the October Revolution. It flooded newspapers, 
libraries, reading rooms, and buried under its silt and slime countless documents relating to the greatest 
epoch in the development of the party and the revo lution. Now we are compelled to extract these 
documents in fragments in order to restore the past. 

69. In 1921, one of the many editions of Trotsky's old book entitled, Sumnaries and Perspectives of the 
Revolution, was published in the English language. Contained in it is the most complete exposition of the 
theory of permanent revolution. 

The English edition is supplied with a preface by the author dated March 12, 1919, Kremlin, and 
originally written for the Russian edition of the brochure issued in 1919. In the period between that 
Russian edition and the English edition of 1921 appeared several editions in various languages. In his 
preface of 1919, the author referred to the differences of opinion on this question which had formerly 
separated him from Bolshevism. The preface states among other things: 

"Having thus conquered power, the proletariat cannot confine itself to bourgeois democracy. The 
proletariat is compelled to resort to the tactic of the permanent revolution — that is to say, it must 
destroy the barrier between the minimum and maximum programs of social democracy, introduce 
increasingly radical social reforms and strive for the direct and forthright support of the European 
revolution. That position was developed in the present brochure which was originally written in 
1904-1906." 

"Destroy the barrier between the minimum and maximum programs " — that is precisely the formula for 
the growing over of the bourgeois democratic revolution into the socialist revolution. Such a process is 
predicated on the conquest of power by the proletariat which, by the logic of its position, is compelled to 
"introduce increasingly radical social reforms. . . 

And who published this brochure? The publisher did not at all deem it necessary to hide his criminal 
identity. The title page reads: "Published by the Communist International, Moscow, 1921." The last page 
of the brochure bears the notation in Russian: "Printshop of the Comintern." The chairman of the 
Comintern was Zinoviev. Bukharin was in full-time employ of the Comintern. The edition could not 
have passed unnoticed by them, especially since there were several editions. Nor could the edition in the 
Russian language have passed unnoticed by the Central Committee of the party as a whole — especially 
since the brochure was expressly published by it — nor by Lenin in particular. At that period the 
question of interpreting the significance of the October Revolution was very sharply posed in the mind of 
every mem ber of the party, and especially of its leading cadres. 

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I am compelled to ask again: How was it that on the most important and most burning question, not only 
the Central Committee but even the Comintern, could disseminate a brochure devoted wholly to the 
defense and exposition of the theory of the permanent revolution and, moreover, containing a preface 
written specially for the new edition, in which the author declared that the course of events had 
confirmed that theory? Is it your contention that until 1924 the Bolshevik party and the Comintern were 
headed only by blind or ignorant men, or what is worse, Mensheviks and counter- revolutionists? We 
demand an answer to this question-one of a hundred, one of a thousand similar questions. 

"DISCUSSIONS" IN THE POST-LENIN PERIOD 

70. 1 do not propose to analyze here the discussion of 1923. The controversy opened at that time still 
continues. The fundamental controversial questions were: 

(a) The inter-relations between the city and country (the "scissors, "128] the disproportions; whether 
the threat to the smychkai \29] in the next period lay in industry's lagging behind or in the attempt to 
leap ahead). 

(b) The role of planned management of national economy from the point of view of the struggle of 
socialist and capi talist tendencies. 

(c) The party regime. 

(d) The problems of international revolutionary strategy (Germany, Bulgaria, Esthonia[3Q1). Since 
that time the controversial questions have assumed a much clearer aspect and have been expressed 
in more adequate form in a number of the documents of the Opposition. However, the main line 
sketched by the Opposition in 1923 has been wholly confirmed. 

The July 1926 declaration signed by comrades Zinoviev and Kamenev states the following: 

"At the present moment there can no longer be any doubt that the main nucleus of the Opposition of the 
year 1923 had correctly warned us of the danger of sliding away from the proletarian line and of the 
alarming growth of the apparatus regime. Nevertheless, scores and hundreds of leaders of the Opposition 
of 1923, among them many old worker-Bolsheviks tempered in the struggle, immune to careerism and 
servility, remain to this day removed from party work, despite their proven constancy and submission to 
discipline." 

That declaration alone suffices to show how puny on the scales of theory is the weight of the phantom of 
"Trotskyism," created and fostered to befuddle the party. 

The label "Trotskyism" has been applied since 1923, and especially since 1924, to the correct application 
of Marxism with regard to the new stage in the development of the October Revolution and of our party. 

A FEW CONCLUSIONS 

The above is a very small part of those facts, testimonials and quotations which I might adduce in 
refutation of the history of the last ten years as falsified by Stalin, Yaro slavsky and Co. 

I must add that the falsification is not limited to these ten years but spreads over the whole preceding 
history of the party, converting it into an uninterrupted struggle of Bol shevism with "Trotskyism." In 
that sphere the falsifiers feel especially free, for the events belong to an already compara lively remote 
past, and they can make an arbitrary selection of documents. The thought of Lenin is counterfeited by 

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means of a one-sided selection of quotations. At present, however, I will not enter into the preceding 
period of my revolutionary activities (1897 to 1917) since the motive of the present letter is your 
questionnaire as to my participation in the October Revolution and my meetings and relations with 
Lenin. 

As to the twenty years preceding the October Revolution, I will confine myself to a few lines. 

I was of that "minority" (menshinstvo) of the Second Congress (1903) from which Menshevism 
subsequently devel oped. I remained politically and organizationally associated with this minority only 
until the autumn of 1904 — approximately until the so-called "land campaign" of the New Iskra, when 
my irreconcilable conflict with Menshevism upon the questions of bourgeois liberalism and the 
perspectives of the revolution defined itself. In 1904, that is, twenty-three years ago, I broke politically 
and organizationally with Menshevism. I never called myself or considered myself a Menshevik. 

At the Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Comintern, on December 9, 1926, in connection with 
the question of "Trotskyism," I made the following statement: 

"Generally speaking, I do not think that the biographical method can lead us to a decision about 
questions of principle. It is indubitable that I made mistakes upon many questions, especially during my 
struggle against Bolshevism. From that, however, it hardly follows that political questions ought to be 
examined not according to their inner content but on the basis of biography. Otherwise, we should have 
to demand an elaboration of the biographies of all the delegates. . 

"I personally may refer to a certain great precedent. In Germany there lived and fought a man by the 
name of Franz Mehring, who only after a long and energetic struggle against the social democracy (until 
late years we all called ourselves social democrats), only after he was fully mature, joined the Social 
Democratic party. Mebring wrote the history of the German social democracy at first as an enemy, not as 
a lackey of capitalism, but as intellectually opposed to it — and afterward he rewrote it in that splendid 
work on the German social democracy as its true friend. On the other hand, Kautsky and Bernstein never 
struggled openly against Marx and they both stood under the whip of Frederick Engels. Bernstein, 
moreover, is famous as the literary executor of Engels. Nevertheless, Franz Mehring died and was buried 
as a Marxist, as a communist, whereas the other two, Kautsky and Bernstein, still live the lives of 
reformist dogs. The biographical element is, of course, important but of itself it decides nothing." 

As I have many times stated, in my disagreements with Bolshevism upon a series of fundamental 
questions, the error was on my side. In order to give an approximate outline in a few words of the nature 
and extent of those former disagree ments of mine with Bolshevism, I will say this: 

During the time when I stood outside the Bolshevik party, during that period when my differences with 
Bolshevism reached their highest point, the distance separating me from the views of Lenin was never as 
great as the distance which separates the present positions of Stalin-Bukharin from the very foundations 
of Marxism and Leninism. 

Every new stage in the development of the party and the revolution, every new hook, every new 
fashionable theory, has called forth a new zigzag and a new blunder on the part of Bukharin. His whole 
theoretical and political biography is a chain of errors committed within the formal framework of 
Bolshevism. The mistakes of Bukharin since the death of Lenin far exceed in their scale, and especially 
in their political consequences, all his earlier mistakes. This scholiast, emptying Marxism of all concrete 
reality, converting it into a game with ideas, often into mere verbal sophistry, has proved naturally the 

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most suitable "theoretician" for the period of the sHding over of the party leadership from the proletarian 
to the petty bourgeois rails. Without sophistry this cannot be done. Hence the present "theoretical" r61e of 
Bukharin. 

In all those very few — questions upon which Stalin has attempted to occupy an independent position, or 
has merely given, without the immediate direction of Lenin, his own answer upon major issues, he has 
always and invariably, and so to speak, organically, occupied an opportunist position. 

The struggle of Lenin against Menshevism, against Vperyodism, [31} and Conciliationism, Stalin 
denounced from exile as an emigre "tempest in a teapot" (cf., Zarya Vostoka, Dec.23, 1925). 

No other political documents as to the form of Stalin's thoughts up to 1917 exist, as far as I know, except 
for a number of more or less correct but school-boy articles on the national question. 

The independent position of Stalin (prior to the arrival of Lenin) at the beginning of the February 
revolution was opportunist through and through. 

The independent position of Stalin in relation to the German revolution of 1923 was wholly saturated 
with tail-endism and conciliationism. 

The independent position of Stalin on the problems of the Chinese revolution is nothing but a cheap 
edition of Martinov's Menshevism of 1903 to 1905. 

The independent position of Stalin on the problems of the British labor movement is a Centrist 
capitulation to Menshevism. [3 21 

You can juggle quotations, hide the stenographic reports of your own speeches, forbid the circulation of 
Lenin's letters and articles, fabricate yards of dishonestly selected quota tions. You can suppress, conceal 
and burn up historic docu ments. You can extend your censorship even to photographic and 
moving-picture records of revolutionary events. All these things Stalin is doing. But the results do not 
and will not justify his expectations. Only a limited mind like Stalin's could imagine that these pitiful 
machinations will make men forget the gigantic events of modern history. 

In the year 1918, Stalin, at the very outset of his cam paign against me, found it necessary, as we have 
already learned, to write the following words: 

"All the work of practical organization of the insurrection was carried out under the direct leadership of 
the Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, comrade Trotsky. We can say with certainty that the swift passing 
of the garrison to the side of the Soviet and the bold execution of the work of the Military Revolutionary 
Committee the party owes principally and above all to comrade Trotsky." (Stalin, Pravda, Nov. 6, 1918.) 

With full responsibility for my words, I am now compelled to say that the cruel massacre of the Chinese 
proletariat and the Chinese Revolution at its three most important turning points, the strengthening of the 
position of the trade union agents of British imperialism after the General Strike of 1926, and, finally, the 
general weakening of the position of the Communist International and the Soviet Union, the party owes 
principally and above all to Stalin. 

October 21 1927. 



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NOTES: 

26. Back in July, 1920, with the whole system a wreck, Trotsky was chosen to restore transportation. One 
of his first acts was to issue "Order No. 1042," the first serious attempt to introduce long-term planning 
into Soviet economy. The Order, the first of a series of systematic measures that finally brought order 
and regularity where chaos and collapse had prevailed before, was based upon a five-year outline of 
activity. [BACK TO TEXT] 

27. The "original critics" of Trotskyism referred to are Zinoviev and Kamenev, who were the principal 
initiators of the fight against Trotsky which they opened in 1928 together with Stalin, Bukharin and 
Rykov. How the entire campaign was conspira torially and disloyally conceived, is related in the 
testimony of Radek, Piatakov, Rakovsky, Eltsin and others, printed in this volume in the chapter "The 
Legend of Trotskyism." [BACK TO TEXT] 

28. The "scissors" was an image employed by Trotsky in dealing with the economic crisis in the Soviet 
Republic, especially as affecting the peasantry. One blade of the scissors was to repre sent the high price 
of manufactured articles, the other the low price for agricultural products and consequently the low pur 
chasing power of the rural masses. The crisis became increas ingly acute as the "blades" opened wider. 
The crisis would be eliminated, said Trotsky, by closing the "blades," that is, pri marily, by lowering the 
price of industrial products. [BACK TO TEXT] 

29. Smychka is the Russian word for alliance or union. In popular Russian political parlance, it refers 
specifically to the alliance between the workers and the peasants, the firm maintenance of which, the 
Bolsheviks always insisted, was a pre- condition to the preservation of the Soviet power. [BACK TO 
TEXT] 

30. Among the earliest differences developing between Trotsky and his supporters on one side, and the 
leadership of the Russian party and the Comintern, on the other, revolved around the strat egy pursued in 
the German Revolution of October, 1923, the Bulgarian insurrection of September, 1928, and the 
Esthonmn p'utsch of December, 1924. For a fuller elucidation of the differences, see Leon Trotsky's The 
Third International After Lenin, New York, 1986, specifically the chapter entitled "Strat egy and Tactics 
in the Imperialist Epoch," p.75 et seq. [BACK TO TEXT] 

31. Vperyodism was the tendency represented by the group calling itself Vperyod [Forward], which was 
formed towards the end of 1909 in exile by a number of ultra-Leftist Bolsheviks, Bogdanov, 
Lunacharsky, Alexinsky, Pokrovsky, Menzhinsky, Manuilsky and Gorky. The group existed for several 
years, issuing a number of literary works, and condemning Lenin for having departed from the true 
traditions of Bolshevism which the Vperyodists alone were now defending. The ultra-radicalism of the 
group, which was displayed in its opposition to utilizing parliamentary partici pation in the Duma, or 
active work in the trade unions, was com bined with attempts at philosophical revision of Marxism, espe 
cially by Bogdanov and Lunacharsky. Lenin devoted an entire volume. Materialism and 

Empino- Criticism, to the latter aspect of the Vperyodist policy. [BACK TO TEXT] 

32. Trotsky refers to Stalin's continual capitulation to the Right wing British trade union leaders, 
associated with him in the Anglo-Russian Trade Union Unity Committee, during the period from the end 
of the General Strike in May, 1926, until the dis solution of the Committee a year later. For a more 
detailed account of the criticism of Trotsky, see his The Third Interna tional After Lenin, pp. 128-184, 



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and Problems of the Chinese Revolution, New York, 1982, pp. 61-67. [BACK TO TEXT1 



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Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

Some Documents Relating to the Origin of tlie Legend of 
Trotskyism" 



If 



IN NOVEMBER 1927, Zinoviev and Kamenev, after spending nearly two years in the Opposition, found 
it necessary to return to the haven of the Stahnist bureaucracy. [331 For their credentials, they sought once 
again to present a declaration of their disagreement with "Trotskyism." But the misfortune is that 
Zinoviev and Kamenev, while they were in the Opposition, had bestirred themselves to expose 
completely the workings of the machine in the preceding period from 1928 to 1926, when they together 
with Stalin had manufactured the legend of "Trotskyism" in their conspiratorial laboratory. 

On the eve of my exile to Central Asia, I sent a letter to a number of comrades. The text of this letter 
together with the replies is printed below (with minor omissions). 

Moscow, November 21, 1927. 

Dear Comrades: 

Zinoviev and Kamenev and their closest associates- - after a considerable interval — are again bringing 
up the legend of "Trotskyism." 

For this reason I should like to establish the following facts: 

(1) When the so-called "literary discussion" was first kindled (in 1924), certain comrades closest to our 
group declared that the publication of The Lessons of October was tactical error because it provided the 
then majority of the Political Bureau with a pretext for launching a "literary discussion. " [341 On my part, 
I maintained that the "literary discussion" would have been launched in any case, on one pretext or 
another. The gist of the "literary discussion" consisted in piling up as many facts and quotations as 
possible against me, culling them from the entire past history of the party, and presenting them — in a 
distorted perspective and in actual violation of historical truth — to the uninformed party masses. In 
point of fact, the "literary discussion" had no bearing whatever upon my book. The Lessons of October . 
Any one of my books or speeches might have served as a formal pretext for burying the party underneath 
an avalanche — a drive against "Trotskyism." That was my reply to those comrades who were inclined to 
view the publication of The Lessons of October as a tactical blunder. 

After the formation of our bloc with the Leningrad Group, during one of the conferences, in the presence 
of several other comrades, I put substantially the following question to 



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Zinoviev: 

"Could you please tell me whether the so-called literary discussion against Trotskyism' would have taken 
place, if I had not published The Lessons of October. T 

Without the slightest hesitation, Zinoviev replied: "Yes, indeed. The Lessons of October served only as a 
pretext. Failing that, a different motive would have been found, and the discussion would have assumed 
somewhat different forms, nothing more." 

(2) In the declaration of July 1926, signed by Zinoviev and Kamenev, the following statement occurs: 

"There can no longer be any doubt now that the main nucleus of the 1923 Opposition correctly warned 
against the dangers of the departure from the proletarian line and against the alarming growth of the 
apparatus regime. Nevertheless, scores and hundreds of the leaders of the 1928 Opposition, among them 
many old worker-Bolsheviks, tempered in the struggle and immune to careerism and toadyism, remain to 
this day removed from party work, despite their proven constancy and submission to discipline." 

(3) At the joint Plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of July 14 to July 
23, 1926, Zinoviev said: 

"I have made many mistakes. But I consider two mistakes as my most important ones. My first mistake 
of 1917 is known to all of you. . . . The second mistake I consider more dangerous because the first one 
was made under Lenin. The mistake of 1917 was corrected by Lenin and made good by us within a few 
days with the help of Lenin, but my mistake of 1923 consisted in...." 

ORDJONIKIDZE (interrupting): "Then why did you dupe the entire party?" 

ZINOVIEV: "We say, there can no longer be any doubt now that the main nucleus of the 1923 Opposition, 
as the development of the present ruling faction has shown, correctly warned against the dangers of the 
departure from the proletarian line, and against the alarming growth of the apparatus regime. . . . Yes, in 
the question of suppression by the bureaucratized apparatus, Trotsky proved to be right as against us." 
(Minutes, 4th Issue, p. 33.) 

In this manner, Zinoviev admitted his mistake of 1923 (in waging a struggle against "Trotskyism" and 
even characterized it as much more dangerous than that of 1917 — when he opposed the October 
insurrection!). 

(4) This admission on the part of Zinoviev aroused considerable astonishment among many second-rank 
leaders of the Leningrad Opposition who were not initiated into the conspiracy and who honestly 
believed in the legend of "Trotskyism." 

Zinoviev told me repeatedly: "In Leningrad we hammered it into the minds of the comrades more deeply 
than anywhere else and it is, therefore, most difficult to re-educate them." 

I recall quite accurately the words that Lashevich shouted at two members of the Leningrad Group who 
came to Moscow to clarify themselves on the question of Trotskyism: 

"Why do you keep standing the matter on its head! We invented Trotskyism' together with you in the 
struggle against Trotsky. Why won't you understand this? You are only helping Stalin! etc." 

Zinoviev in his turn said: 



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"You must keep the circumstances in mind. You must understand it was a struggle for power. The trick 
was to string together old disagreements with new issues. For this purpose Trotskyism' was invented. 

This conversation made a deep impression upon us, the members of the 1923 Group, even though we had 
had previous knowledge of the mechanics of the struggle against "Trotskyism." 

Now that Zinoviev and Kamenev are again resorting to the same trick, that is to say, stringing together 
old disagreements with the rather current question of their capitulation, I am asking you to recall whether 
you participated in any of the above-mentioned conversations and what your own recollections are. 

With communist greetings, 

L. Trotsky. 

Letter from E. Preobrazhesky 

I confirm everything brought out in the above document. Only Lashevich said: "We invented Trotskyism 
ourselves, etc." without using the words "together with you." Because, as I recall it, the two Leningrad 
comrades were quite honestly perturbed about "Trotskyism" and could hardly have been informed of the 
entire plan of the struggle against "neo-Trotskyism" from its inception. The meeting took place at 
Kamenev's [home] somewhere around October 16 [1926], perhaps a few days before or after — I cannot 
recall exactly. 

Dec. 29, 1927. 

E. A. Preobrazhensky. 

Letter from G. Piatakov 

Dear Leon Davidovich: 

You ask me to inform you what I am able to recall about the speeches of Lashevich and Zinoviev on the 
occasion of a discussion with Leningrad comrades on "Trotskyism" which took place at Kamenev's 
home. I no longer remember all that was said. But since I have always been deeply disturbed by the 
question of so-called "Trotskyism," and since the attitude of the Opposition of 1925-1926 towards this 
question was always of enormous political interest to me, I remember quite clearly what Zinoviev and 
Lashevich said to us. I do not recall the exact words but the sense of what they said I remember well, 
namely: 

"Trotskyism" had been invented in order to replace the real differences of opinion with fictitious 
differences, that is, to utilize past differences which had no bearing upon the present but which were 
resurrected artificially for the definite purpose mentioned above. This was told to the comrades from 
Leningrad who were wavering on the question of "Trotskyism" and to whom it had to be explained how 
and why the legend of "Trotskyism" had been created. 

Jan. 2, 1928. [The date in the original is mistakenly given as 1927. — L. T.] 

Piatakov. 

Letter from K. Radek 



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I was not present during the first conversation but heard of it later from L. D. [Trotsky]. 

But I was present at the conversation with Kamenev when L. B. [Kamenev] said he would openly declare 
at the Plenum of the Central Committee how they, that is, Kamenev and Zinoviev, together with Stalin, 
decided to utilize the old disagreements between L. D. [Trotsky] and Lenin so as to keep comrade 
Trotsky from the leadership of the party after Lenin's death. Moreover, I have heard repeated from the 
lips of Zinoviev and Kamenev the tale of how they had "invented" Trotskyism as a topical slogan. 

Dec. 25, 1927. 

K. Radek. 

[Radek here recalls a striking incident that is not mentioned in my letter. During the July Plenum in 1927, Zinoviev and 
Kamenev were subjected to a particularly heavy barrage of quotations out of their own writings against 'Trotskyism." 
Since Kamenev hoped to get the floor again on the question of the Opposition, he was preparing, as he put it, to take the 
bull by the horns and declare openly before the Plenum how and why the Trotskyist danger had been invented for the 
purpose of an organized struggle against Trotsky. But the speakers' list was closed and Kamenev did not get the floor 
again. — L. Trotsky.] 

Letter from C. G. Rakovsky 

Dear Leon Davidovich: 

I was not present at the conversation to which you refer (I was not in Moscow, having left for Paris after 
the Plenum). However, on my return in the autumn I heard from you — as well as from Preobrazhensky 
in Paris — concerning both the conversation with Zinoviev and Lashevich's remarks in particular ("Why 
do you keep standing the matter on its head?"). Both of them (Le., Zinoviev and Lashevich) stated 
themselves that the argument from "Trotskyism" and the "permanent revolution" was dragged in by the 
hair for the sole purpose of discrediting the 1923 Opposition. 

With greetings, 

C. Rakovsky. 

Dec. 28, 1927. 

Letter from V. B. Eltsin Dear Leon Davidovich: 

I have a very clear recollection of the episode relating to the "literary discussion" on The Lessons of 
October. It occurred during one of the conversations in Kamenev's home on the eve of the Declaration of 
October 16.[351 

To a question put by Leon Davidovich as to whether the discussion against "Trotskyism" would have 
taken place if The Lessons of October had not appeared, Zinoviev replied: 

"Certainly, it would have taken place," for the plan to begin this discussion was already decided upon in 
advance, and they were only looking for a pretext. None of the supporters of the 1925 Group (the 
Zinovievists) who were present raised any objections to this. Everyone received this information of 
Zinoviev' s as a generally known fact. 

Jan 2, 1928 



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V. Eltsin. 

I succeeded in obtaining these written testimonials in Moscow prior to my exile. These testimonials serve 
only to illustrate what is clear enough to those comrades who are better informed. They cast a rather 
glaring light upon the repulsive ideological jugglery on the question of "Trotskyism." In the years from 
1917 to 1928, there was no mention ever made of Trotskyism. That was the period, apart from other 
things, of the October insurrection, the Civil War, the construction of the Soviet state and of the Red 
Army, the elaboration of our party program, the founding of the Communist Inter national, the formation 
of its cadres, the drafting of its fundamental documents, including the programmatic theses and the 
manifestoes of the C.I. In 1928, after Lenin's withdrawal from work, serious differences broke out in the 
main nucleus of the Central Committee. In the course of the next four years, these differences were to 
develop into two irreconcilable political lines. In 1924, the phantom of Trotskyism was brought into the 
arena after meticulous preparations behind the scenes. The guiding spirits in the campaign were Zinoviev 
and Kamenev. They stood at the head of the "Bolshevik Old Guard" — in the terminology of that period. 
On the opposing side as — "Trotskyism." But the "Old Guard" group suffered a split in 1925. Within a 
few months, Zinoviev and Kamenev found themselves compelled to admit that the main nucleus of the 
1928 Opposition — the so-called "Trotskyists" — proved to be right on the fundamental controversial 
questions. This admission was the harsh penalty they paid for abuses in the sphere of party theory. But 
that was not all. Zinoviev and Kamenev soon found themselves enrolled among the "Trotskyists." One 
could hardly conceive a fate more ruthless in its irony! 

The Fifteenth Party Congress brought no change in the political line of the majority. On the contrary, the 
Congress set its seal of approval upon this line. It condemned the Opposition and banished the latter from 
the party. So far as Zinoviev and Kamenev were concerned, this provided them with sufficient cause to 
hide the danger of Thermidor. Instead they sought to resurrect the phantom of Trotskyism. It would not 
surprise us at all if Zinoviev were to undertake writing a brochure against the Trotskyist danger, while 
Kamenev begins quoting from his articles and speeches of 1923-1924. 

Unprincipled politics carries with it its own punishment. It disintegrates when confronted with facts; it 
undermines confidence in itself and it ultimately becomes a laughing stock. 

Individuals, even such outstanding men as Zinoviev and Kamenev, come and go, but the political line 
remains. 

Moscow, January 3, 1928. 

^ ^ ^ 

Since the above lines were written, more than two years have elapsed. Piatakov and Radek, the chief 
witnesses against the falsifiers who had created the legend of Trotskyism, failed to foresee that a few 
months after signing their eloquent depositions (reproduced here in facsimile) they themselves would 
take a different road. The paths of ideological back sliding are truly incalculable! The undertow of a 
revolutionary ebb-tide is so powerful that people flounder in it, and heads and feet become so mixed up 
in the foam as to be indistinguishable. 

Despite its tragi-comic aspects, the fate of the capitulators has a very weighty meaning: The frailty of 
men serves only to underscore the power of ideas. 

It is not the author of this book but rather his adversaries who have built and appraised all party 

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groupings, with their attitude toward "Trotskyism" as a measuring rod. In the struggle against 
"Trotskyism," Stahn turned "theoretician" and Molotov, leader. Zinoviev and Kamenev marched hand in 
hand with Stalin, broke with Stalin and returned to Stalin — and each time "Trotskyism" served as the 
touchstone. The Right wing (Bukharin, Rykov, Tomsky) broke with Stalin, accusing him of 
"Trotskyism." Stalin, in his wisdom, turned the self-same accusation against the Rights. Piatakov, Radek 
and other second-draft capitulators were compelled to drink from the self- same fountain. 

What does it all mean? First of all, it means that all these individuals and groups possess nothing they can 
call their own. All of them are repelled by something; they all temporarily gravitate toward something 
only in order to be repelled again. They call this "something" — "Trotskyism" and they use this 
pseudonym to settle their accounts with the doctrine of Marx and Lenin. 

Revolution is a harsh school. It is unsparing of spines, whether physical or moral. An entire generation 
has spent itself, becoming drained physically and spiritually. Only a few have survived. The 
overwhelming majority of the Stalinist tops consists of men drained to the core. The appurtenances of the 
apparatus invest them with an imposing appearance, serving them as a parade uniform serves a senile 
general. Historical events will continue to expose and to confirm the hollowness of the Stalinist "Guard" 
at each new trial. The capitulations on the question of Trotskyism have served thousands and tens of 
thousands as training in the art of capitulation as such. 

The succession of political generations presents a major and a very complex problem which is posed in 
its own peculiar manner before each class and each party. But all must face it. 

Lenin often castigated the so-called "Old Bolsheviks," even remarking on occasion that revolutionists on 
reaching the age of 50 should be consigned to the Hereafter. This grim jest contains a serious political 
thought. Each revolutionary generation becomes, after attaining certain limits, an obstacle to the further 
development of those ideas which it had served. Generally speaking, men are quickly drained by politics 
and all the more so by revolution. Exceptions are rare. But there are exceptions. Otherwise there would 
be no such thing as ideological continuity. 

Today the theoretical education of the younger generation is our supreme task. This is the meaning of the 
struggle we are waging against the epigones who despite their seeming strength have already been 
drained ideologically. 



Constantinople, 
February 7, 1930. 



NOTES: 

33. When the entire Left Opposition was expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union by the 
Fifteenth Party Con gress at the end of 1927, the Zinovievist section of the Opposition (Zinoviev, 
Xamenev, Yevdokimov, Bakayev, etc.), faced with the demand by Stalin's congress that they not only 
renounce their right to disseminate their political views, but even their right to entertain such views, 
ended by presenting a statement of complete capitulation. Shortly thereafter, they were re-admitted into 
the party. Their submission availed them little, for at the end of 1932 they were once more expelled for 



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having had "guilty knowledge" of a secret faction organized by Syrtsov, Lominadze, Shatskin and Sten, 
and for having failed to inform the party authorities. Once more, Zinoviev and Kamenev presented a 
statement of recantation, even more humiliating than the first; they were again readmitted in 1933. From 
then on, their self-debasing statements continued periodically, until January, 1935, when they admitted 
"moral complicity" in the assassination of S. M. Kirov in Leningrad, for which they were sentenced, 
along with a number of their real and alleged political associates, to prison sentences ranging from five to 
ten years. In August, 1936, they were once more accused of complicity in the assassination of Kirov, but 
this time of direct responsibility. Less than two weeks after the opening of the tragically farcical trial, 
they were executed along with fourteen other defendants. [BACK TO TEXT1 

34. The "literary discussion" was launched in 1924 in the Russian party on the pretext of the publication 
of The Lessons of October (Eng. trans. New York, 1937), which examined the problems of revolutionary 
strategy and tactics in the German Revolution of October, 1923, in the light of the instructive internal 
disputes which developed in the Bolshevik Party during the year 1917 over the question of the 
insurrection which finally occurred in Novem ber. Trotsky's work, an introduction to his volume 7977, 
was almost universally condemned by the various Communist parties on command from Moscow, but 
not one person in a hundred called upon to condemn it, ever laid eyes on it. In fact, in the American 
Communist Party, the press was called upon, at one and the same time, to condemn Trotsky's work and 
to refrain from publishing it! The Central Executive Committee of the party issued the following decision 
to all part; editors: "You will find attached hereto an English translation of a review of comrade Trotsky's 
Book 7977 entitled 'How One Should Not Write the History of October.' By decision of the Central 
Execu tive Committee all party papers are instructed to reprint this Pravda review within ten days time. 
It is the further instruction of the Central Executive Committee that no party paper shall reprint the book 
7977 or any chapter thereof in the party press. It is the view of the Central Executive Committee of the 
Workers [Communist] Party of America that the publication of Trotsky's book in this country would be a 
detriment to the work of Bolshevizing the Workers Party which is the most important task before our 
party. The Central Executive Committee regrets to note that the Volkazeitung [the party organ in German 
at that time] has already begun publication of the book serially. It has instructed the Volkszeitun'q to 
discontinue the publication and further instructs all other party papers that neither the book as a whole 
nor any chapter thereof is to be reprinted in the party press. . . . Central Executive Committee, W. P. of 
A., Wm. Z. Foster, Chairman, C. E. Ruthenberg, Executive Secretary." (Daily Worker, December 18, 
1924.) It was therefore a "detriment to the work of Bolshevizing" the American Communist movement to 
make available to the membership Trotsky's essay so that they might at least know the contents of what 
they were instructed to condemn as counter-revolutionary. [BACK TO TEXT] 

35. On October 16, 1926, the recently formed Opposition, faced with the threat of expulsion which 
would prematurely cut them off from contact with the party membership, issued a statement to the party 
in which the pledge is made to cease advocating their views in the intensely sharp factional form which 
the struggle had assumed by that time. The increasingly repressive and bureaucratic measures taken by 
the Stalinist leadership, plus the decisive importance of the events in England and especially in China, 
made it impossible to conduct the struggle against the decadent bureaucracy in the form pledged by the 
statement. [BACK TO TEXT1 



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I 



i 




The Leon Trotsky 



Archive 




The Marxist writers' 



Archives 



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Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

The Lost Document 

WE PUBLISH herewith the minutes of the historic session of the Petrograd Committee of the Bolsheviks 
held November 1 (14),I361 1917. The conquest of power had already been achieved, at any rate, in the 
most important centers in the country. Within the party, however, the struggle over the question of power 
had far from terminated. It had merely passed into a new phase. Prior to October 25, the representatives 
of the Right wing (Zinoviev, Kamenev, Rykov, Kalinin, Lunacharsky and others) argued that the 
uprising was pre mature and could lead only to defeat. After the victorious insurrection, they proceeded 
to argue that the Bolshevik party would be unable to maintain itself in power unless the Bolsheviks 
entered into a coalition with the other Socialist parties, Le.y the Social Revolutionists and the 
Mensheviks. During this new phase, the struggle of the Rights became exceptionally acute, and 
terminated with the resignation of the representatives of the Right wing from the Council of People's 
Commissars and from the Central Committee of the party. It should be borne in mind that this crisis 
occurred only a few days after the conquest of power. 

How did the present Centrists and, above all, Stalin, con duct themselves on this question? In the nature 
of things, Stalin was a Centrist even at that time. He occupied a Centrist position whenever he had to take 
an independent stand or to express his personal opinion. But this Centrist stood in fear of Lenin. It is for 
this reason that there is virtually no political trace of Stalin during the most critical moments of the 
ideological struggle ~ from April 4, 1917, up to the time Lenin fell ill. 

As these minutes prove, the revolutionary line of the party was defended jointly by Lenin and Trotsky. 
That is precisely why the minutes we publish were not included in the collection of the minutes of the 
Petrograd Committee, issued under the title: The First Legal Petrograd Committee of the Bolsheviks in 
1917 (State Publishers, 1927). We must pause to correct ourselves. The minutes of the November 1 
session were originally included in the book. They were set in type and the proofs were carefully read. 
As evidence of this, we present a facsimile reproduction of a section of these proof-sheets. But the 
minutes of this historical session were in flagrant and virtually intolerable contradiction with the 
falsification of the history of October, executed under the unenlightened but zealous supervision of 
Yaroslavsky. What was there left to do? Leningrad phoned Moscow; the Central Istpart phoned the 
Secretariat of the Central Committee, and the latter issued its instructions: That the minutes be expunged 
from the book, in such a manner as would leave no traces behind. The table of contents was hastily reset 
and the pages renumbered. Nevertheless, a tell-tale trace re mains in the body of the book itself. The 
session of October 29 concludes by setting Wednesday (November 1) as the date for the next session. 
Meanwhile, according to the book the "next" session takes place on Thursday, November 2. But a much 



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more important trace is preserved outside the pages of the book itself, in the form of the 
above-mentioned proof sheets, corrected and annotated in her own handwriting, by P. F. KudelH, the 
editor of the volume. 

As the official reason for hiding the most important minutes of the Petrograd Committee for the year 
1917, Kudelli jotted down the following note on the proofs: "The speech of V. I. Lenin was recorded by 
the secretary of that session of the Petersburg Committee with considerable omissions and numerous 
abbreviations of various words and sentences. In places, the record of Lenin's speech cannot be 
deciphered. To avoid presenting the speech in garbled form, it will, there fore, not be printed." 

It is quite true that the record of the minutes is imperfect, containing many omissions and obscure 
passages. But this is equally true of all the minutes of the Petrograd Committee for the year 1917. The 
record of the November 1 session is, if anything, superior to several others. It is generally known that 
Lenin's speeches were always difficult to record even in shorthand, because of the peculiarities of his 
delivery. He spoke very rapidly, using extremely complex sentences, making sudden and abrupt 
interpolations, etc. Nevertheless, the full import of Lenin's speech of November 1 (14) is perfectly clear. 
Lunacharsky's speech and the two speeches of Trotsky are quite adequately recorded. The reason for the 
excision of these minutes is wholly different. Nor is it difficult to find. The reason is denoted on the 
margins of the proof sheets by a heavy line accompanied with an enormous question mark. These 
notations are placed next to the following words in the text: 

''As for conciliation [with the Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionists] / cannot even speak about that 
seriously. Trotsky long ago said that unification is impossible. Trotsky understood this and from that time 
on there has been no better Bolshevik. " 

It was this passage that completely overwhelmed the Secretariat of the Central Committee and resulted in 
a reconstruction of the entire book which is unpleasant enough in itself - for even in its present ravaged 
form it constitutes a deadly document against the falsifiers. Enough to mention that the viewpoint of the 
Central Committee as presented to the locals was referred to as "the viewpoint of Lenin and Trotsky" 
(cf., p. 845). Not even a man as assiduous as Yaroslavsky can attend to every detail. 

I might remark in passing that it would be highly instructive to reconstruct the independent ideological 
creative work of this incompetent compiler and spiteful falsifier during the year 1917. We shall recall 
only a single fact that is little known or conveniently forgotten. After the February Revolution, 
Yaroslavsky issued in Yakutsk jointly with the Mensheviks a review, Sotsial-Demokrat, a mode! of 
infinite political sordidness, straddling between Menshevism and the most provincial form of liberalism. 
Yaroslavsky at that time was at the head of the Yakutsk Chamber of Arbitration, whose function it was to 
safeguard the splendors of the democratic revolution against clashes between workers and capitalists. 
This spirit permeated all the articles in the above review, of which Yaroslavsky was the editor. Among 
his collaborators who, too, did not violate the spirit of the publication were Ordjonikidze and Petrovsky, 
the present Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee. In a leading article which 
might seem incredible had it not appeared in print, Petrovsky literally shed tears to express his emotions 
over the fact that a government official had donated 50 roubles to charity. Petrovsky expressed his firm 
conviction that the revolution would attain its full fruition the moment when the ruling classes began to 
follow the example of the noble titular or, perhaps, aulic councilor. These staunch "Marxists" and 
inflexible "revolutionists" are now editing Lenin and are seeking to edit all history. On a proof sheet of 
the November 1 session they write with assurance:' 'Junk that." (See the facsimile reproduction.) Exactly! 



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"Junk" the history of the October Revolution! "Junk"-Lenin! The history of Russia for a third of a 
century must be reset- with Yaroslavsky as the author, proofreader and make-up man of the new Stalinist 
history. 

But, sad to say, Yaroslavsky "failed" on this occasion too. He failed to "junk" the minutes. After all, it 
takes living men to break up the galleys. 

The proof sheets with all the notations fell instead immediately into the hands of the Opposition. It is not 
the only document of this kind! 

As to the editing of the text printed by us here, we were guided solely by the same methods as were used 
by the editors of the above- mentioned collection of the minutes of the Petrograd Committee. Wherever 
the meaning of the sentences leaves no room for doubt, we have corrected the gram mar or the syntax to 
assist the reader. Half- formed or unintelligible phrases have been deleted. The general trend of the entire 
session and of the tendencies and groupings represented there can be gleaned quite incontestably from 
the record which, despite all its defects, bears internal evidence of its authenticity. In publishing the 
present document, we rescue for the annals of history a living and rather important page of the October 
Revolution. 

^ ^ ^ 

SESSION OF THE PETERSBURG COMMITTEE OF THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC LABOR 
PARTY OF RUSSIA (BOLSHEVIK), NOVEMBER 1 (14), 1917 

Under discussion — the question of expelling A. V. Lunacharsky[Lunacharsky came out in favor of a 
coalition with the Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionists. He resigned from the Government, giving 
as his reason the (alleged) destruction of the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed in Moscow. The proposal 
to expel Lunacharsky was introduced on the initiative of Lenin.] from the party. 

J. G. Fenigstein - Daletsky speaks against. 

The motion is put to a vote. 

Motion to expel defeated. 

The current situation - reporter, J. G. Fenigstein. 

J. G. FENIGSTEIN: I have been chosen reporter by chance. Perhaps someone else will make the report? 

[The proposal (for another reporter) rejected.] 

Our goal — the impending coordination of work [with the Mensheviks and S.R.'s]. What is involved here 
is a coalition with other socialist parties. Such considerations as "blood being spilled" or the workers 
being weary — should not predominate. For a political party that wants to make history — these facts 
cannot constitute obstacles. The task is: 

What to do in order to satisfy the just demands of workers and peasants? What was [the nature of] the 
second revolution? It was inevitable. Class contradictions were growing. We have pointed this out. The 
revolution was not [only] political. It brought with it a series of changes in economic and social spheres. 
A great process was being consummated. Illusions were being dissipated. The mood of the Soviets and of 
the popular masses was changing; they were losing the [conciliationist] illusions. All were coming to the 

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conclusion that the Soviet state was necessary. Under this slogan we have developed and grown. We 
have elaborated a number of slogans relating to the economic struggle, etc. Our party has grown. We 
have had the support of the masses. 

LENIN: I cannot make a report but I shall give some in formation upon a question which is of great 
interest to all. That is, the question of the crisis in the party, which broke out [openly] at a time when the 
party was already in power. 

The polemic waged by Rabochi Put,[3Tl and my speeches against Kamenev and Zinoviev are no news to 
all those who have been following the life of the party. Formerly, Delo Naroda \3S] used to say that the 
Bolsheviks would be afraid to take power. This compelled me to take up my pen in order to show the 
bankruptcy and the infinite stupidity of the Social Revolutionists. I wrote Will the Bolsheviks Retain 
Power. \39] The question of the armed insurrection was raised at the October 1 session of the Central 
Committee. I had fears of opportunism from the side of the Internationalist Fusionists J401 but these were 
dissipated. However, certain [old] members of the Central Committee came out in opposition. This 
grieved me deeply. Thus, the question of power has been posed for a long time. Couldn't we now 
renounce it 

because of the disagreement on the part of Zinoviev and Kamenev? The insurrection was [objectively] 
necessary. Comrades Zinoviev and Kamenev began to agitate against the insurrection, and we began to 
look upon them as strike breakers. I even sent a letter to the Central Committee with a proposal to expel 
them from the party. 

I expressed myself sharply in the press when Kamenev made his speech in the AU-Russian Central 
Executive Committee of the Soviets. [On August 4 (17), 1917, Kamenev made a speech at a session of the All- 
Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets on the subject of his arrest. On August 6 (19), he also spoke on the 
subject of the Stockholm International Socialist Conference, which the Conciliationists proposed to convene in the summer 
of 1917 for the purpose of expediting the conclusion of peace by the Socialist parties exerting pressure upon their 
respective Governments] I should not like [now, after the victory. On August 6 (19), Kamenev spoke in his own name in 
favor of participating in the Conference despite the decision of the Central Commit tee of the party not to participate in the 
Stockholm Conference. -- L. T.] to assume a severe attitude toward them. I take a favorable attitude toward 
Kamenev's negotiations in the Central Executive Committee with a view to conciliation be cause we are 
not opposed to it in principle. [Neither Lenin nor I objected at the outset to the negotiations for a coalition with the 
Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionists on the condition that the Bolsheviks were assured of a stable majority, and that 
these parties were to recognize the Soviet state, the land decrees, the peace decree, and so on. We were convinced that 
nothing would come of the negotiations. But an objective lesson was needed. -- L. T.] 

However, when the Social Revolutionists declined to participate in the Government, it was clear to me 
that they did so after Kerensky rose up in [armed] opposition. Some de lay occurred in Moscow (Le.y the 
seizure of power in Moscow). Our [Rights] became pessimistic. Moscow, if you please, is incapable of 
taking power, and so on. And so they raised the question of conciliation. 

The insurrection poses new tasks. Other forces, other qualities are required. In Moscow, for instance, 
there were many cases of cruelty on the part of the Junkers, shootings of captive soldiers, etc. The 
Junkers, sons of the bourgeoisie, 

understood that with the advent of the people's rule, the rule of the bourgeoisie came to an end, for even 
at the Conference we outlined a number of such measures as the seizure of the banks, and so on. The 
Bolsheviks, on the contrary, were often much too soft. Now if the bourgeoisie had triumphed, it would 



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have acted as it did in 1848 and 1871. Who was there that believed that we would not meet with sabotage 
on the part of the bourgeoisie? This was clear even to an infant. We, too, must apply force. We must 
arrest bank directors and others. Even brief arrests of these people have already yielded very good 
results. 

This hardly surprises me, for I know how little capable they are of doing any fighting themselves. The 
most important thing in their eyes is to safeguard their cozy posts. In Paris, they [the revolutionists] used 
the guillotine while we will only take away the food cards of those who fail to obtain them from the trade 
unions. Thereby we fulfill our duty. And now, at such a moment, when we are in power, we are faced 
with a split. Zinoviev and Kamenev say that we will not seize power [in the entire country]. I am in no 
mood to listen to this calmly. I view this as treason. What do they want? Do they want to plunge us into 
[spontaneous] knife- play? Only the proletariat is able to lead the country. 

As for conciliation, I cannot even speak about that serious ly. Trotsky long ago said that unification is 
impossible. Trotsky understood this, and from that time on there has been no better Bolshevik. 

Zinoviev says that we are not the Soviet power. We are, if you please, only the Bolsheviks, left alone 
since the departure of the Social Revolutionists and the Mensheviks, and so forth and so on. But we are 
not responsible for that. We have been elected by the Congress of the Soviets. This organization is 
something new. Whoever wants to struggle enters into it. It does not comprise the people, it comprises 
the vanguard whom the masses follow. We go with the masses-the active and not the weary masses. To 
refrain now from extending the insurrection [is to capitulate] to the weary masses, but we are with the 
vanguard. The Soviets take shape [in struggle]. The Soviets are the vanguard of the proletarian masses. 
And now we are being invited to wed the City Duma-how absurd! 

We are told that we want to "introduce" socialism-how absurd! We do not intend to institute peasant 
socialism. We are told that we must "halt." But that is impossible. Some even say that we are not the 
Soviet power. Then who are we? We are certainly not those who intend to unite with the Duma. We shall 
have next the proposal to coalesce with the Rumchero dl 41] and the VikzheL \A2] This is horse-trading. 
Perhaps we should also unite with General Kaledin? First con ciliate with the Conciliators and then they 
will put a spoke in the wheels. That would he miserable horse-trading and not a Soviet power. That is 
precisely how we must pose the question at the Conference. 99% of the workers follow us. 

If you want a split, go ahead. If you get the majority, take power in the Central Executive Committee and 
carry on. But we will go to the sailors. 

We are in power. Who is capable of deserting now to the Novaya Zhizn?\43] [Only] spineless, 
unprincipled people who are today with us and tomorrow with the Mensheviks. They say that we will be 
unable to maintain power alone, and so on. But we are not alone. The whole of Europe is before us. We 
must make the beginning. Only a socialist revolution is possible now. All these vacillations and doubts 
[conciliations] are a piece of nonsense. When I spoke [at a mass meeting] and said !et us fight [the 
saboteurs] with food cards, the faces of the soldiers lit up. [The Rights] declare that the soldiers are 
incapable of fighting. But we get reports from speakers [who address the masses] that they have never be 
fore seen such enthusiasm. Only we can create a plan of revolutionary work. Only we are capable of 
waging a struggle. As for the Mensheviks, they will not follow us. At the coming Conference we must 
put the question of the future course of the socialist revolution. We are confronted with Kaledin, we have 
not yet conquered [finally]. When we are told [by the Vikzhel and the saboteurs and others] that "there is 
no [central] power," then we must put them under arrest, and well do it. Then they can talk all they 

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please about the horrors of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Now, if we were to place the members of 
the Vikzhel under arrest-I could understand that. Let them howl about the arrests. The delegates from 
Tver [The peasant delegate from Tver demanded at the Congress of the Soviets on October 25 (November 7) the arrest of 
Avksentiev and other conciliationist leaders of the then Peasant Alliance .-- L. T.] said at the Congress of the 
Soviets, "Arrest them air'-here is something I can understand. Here you have a man who understands the 
dictatorship of the proletariat. Our present slogan is: No compromise, Le., for a homogeneous Bolshevik 
Government. 

LUNACHARSKY: I should like to share with you my impressions of the masses who have done the 
fighting. I was very much astonished to hear Vladimir Ilyich say in his speech that Kamenev supposedly 
fails to recognize the revolution as a socialist revolution. But who holds power now? The Bolsheviks. 
That fact alone speaks for itself. I am unaware that Kamenev holds a Menshevik point of view. Our 
influence is growing. The peasants are coming over to our side. 

The city worker, too, is beginning to understand that the question of land is not a matter of indifference 
to him. We have adopted the S. R. resolution as the basis for the land decree. We have introduced it into 
the program of our activities, we can likewise introduce it in appointing the government. [Lunacharsky 
develops the following idea in his argument: Since the Bolsheviks have included in their land decree a peasant measure 
permeated with the S.R. spirit, therefore, the Bolsheviks must also share the state power with the Social Revolutionists. -L. 
T.j We [the Right Wing Oppositionist that a homogeneous socialist government is necessary. We say: 
Not a single place to the Constitutional-Democrats [the Cadets]. [441 

We have, furthermore, pointed out the necessity of workers' control, the necessity of regulating 
production by the factory and shop committees. The other parties are agreed on this. We will compel 
everybody to accept this point. This plus the Soviet power exhausts our program. Does this imply that we 
reject City Dumas? Why, it is our own people who are seated in them. If these Dumas attempt to seize 
[power], we will crush them. But does it mean that we aim to give the Dumas a little slice of power? No. 
[We mean to give them] simply representation [in the Soviet Government]. Is it really possible that we 
would continue the civil war over this issue? No, we can't do it. Having re-elections for the Dumas-that is 
another matter. Here we are already eight days in power, but we still do not know whether the peace 
decree has been made known to the people. . . . Who is responsible for it? The technical personnel which 
is bourgeois or petty bourgeois. They sabotage us. If the City Duma were to demand a change in the 
main political line — that would be another matter. But if they demand only representation in the 
government, then there is no need even to discuss it. We cannot manage with our own forces. Famine 
will break out. If we do not have with us those who are sabotaging, i.e., the technical apparatus, then 
even our agitation will not he read abroad, and we will not be able to manage anything. Of course, we 
can resort to terror— but why? Where is the need for it? 

We will strive for conciliation. But should they try to hold our hands, we are sufficiently resolute people 
to give them the proper answer. ... At the present moment we must above all take possession of the 
entire apparatus. This implies acting along the line of least resistance, and not taking each post by a 
bayonet charge. Otherwise we won't achieve anything. That is the first stage. We must conquer the first 
rung on the ladder in order to climb the next one. It is impermissible to make leaps, we must proceed 
gradually by stages. [We have here, from the lips of Lunacharsky, the formula which provides the leitmotif for iht 
entire activity of Stalin. In defending for Germany (in 1923) the self-same policy of conciliationism and temporization that 
Lunacharsky defended in 1917, Stalin kept invariably repeating: "It is impermissible to make leaps, v^e must proceed 
gradually step by step." -- L. T.] We must consolidate our position as quickly as possible. We must put the 
entire state apparatus in order, and then proceed. Whoever pulls a string too tightly will end by breaking 

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it. It will burst. The party representative in the Navy Committee said just now that the majority of the 
sailors are in such a mood that they are ready to go to SmolnyI45] and announce that they refuse to wage 
a civil war over the question whether the Bolsheviks should have more power or less. This emergency 
situation cannot long continue. To prolong it is to bleed to death, without the support of the technical 
apparatus. 

I was amazed to hear Vladimir Ilyich's remark about negotiating with General Kaledin, [Lenin, as is evident 
from the context, said that if we are to enter into negotiations in order to liquidate the evil war, then we ought to negotiate 
with Kaledin and not with the Mensheviks. The official editors of the Istpart, as their explanatory remarks show, 
completely missed the meaning of this purely Leninist argument. -- L. T.] because, you know, the latter represents a 
real force, whereas the Mensheviks represent a mythical one. But this mythical force is capable of 
moving troops from the front and of provoking battle near Vinnitsa, and of preventing the Latvian 
riflemen from arriving here. We are automatically prevented from achieving anything on the position we 
have assumed. We have become very fond of war, as if we were not a workers' party hut a party of the 
soldiery, a party of war. It is necessary to create, but we are doing nothing. We continue to polemicize in 
the party, and well keep on polemicizing, until only one man remains-a dictator. [These words were greeted 
by applause (there is further reference to this in Trotsky's speech). The fact is that during tile negotiations for a coalition 
government composed of all Soviet parties, the Conciliationists put forward the demand to "conclude" the civil war, and, 
in order to attain this, to eliminate Lenin and Trotsky from the government. Sometimes, Lenin alone was mentioned. The 
Rights were willing to accept this .-L. T.] 

We cannot possibly handle the situation by means of arrests. It is impossible to attack the technical 
apparatus, it is too big. The people are reasoning as follows: Our program must be fulfilled, provided the 
arms remain in the hands of the workers. We can get a breathing spell on this basis. But we cannot set to 
work now, because there is no apparatus. Such a condition cannot long continue. We must show that we 
are capable of constructive work, instead of saying only: "Keep on fighting! Keep on fighting!" To clear 
our path with bayonets-that will get us nowhere. It is much easier to compel people who are working 
badly to do their work better, than to coerce a man to work by force. In the face of all these difficulties I 
consider conciliation desirable. None of your arguments relating to the Mensheviks will convince the 
masses. I am firmly convinced that it is impermissible to work as we are now working. It is 
impermissible from the standpoint of principle, and, moreover, it is impermissible to risk innumerable 
lives. Do not sow dissension. There is enough dissension as it is, and the masses are becoming very 
restive. 

TROTSKY: We are told that we are incapable of building up. In that case we should simply surrender 
power to those who were correct in struggling against us. But we have al- ready performed a great labor. 
We are told that we cannot sit on bayonets. But neither can we manage without bayonets. We need 
bayonets there in order to be able to sit here. One should imagine that the experience we have already 
gone through has taught us something. There has been a battle in Moscow. Yes, there was a serious battle 
with the Junkers [4 61 there. But these Junkers owe allegiance neither to the Mensheviks nor the Vikzhel. 
Conciliation with the Vikzhel will not do away with the conflict with the Junker detachments of the 
bourgeoisie. No. A cruel class struggle will continue to be waged against us in the future as well. When 
all these middle-class lice, who are now incapable of taking either side, discover that our Government is 
a strong one, they will come to our side, together with the Vikzhel Owing to the fact that we crushed the 
Cossacks of [General] Krasnov beneath Petersburg, we were showered on the very next day with 
telegrams of congratulation. The petty bourgeois masses are seeking that force to which they must submit 
themselves. Whoever fails to understand this, cannot have the slightest comprehension of anything in the 



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universe and, least of all, in the state apparatus. Back in 1871, Karl Marx said that a new class cannot 
simply make use of the old apparatus. [471 This apparatus engenders its own interests and habits which we 
must run up against. It must be smashed and replaced; only then will we be able to work. 

If that were not so, if the old Czarist apparatus suited our new purposes, then the entire revolution would 
not be worth an empty eggshell. We must create such an apparatus as would actually place the common 
interests of the popular masses above the proper interests of the apparatus itself. 

There are many in our midst who have cultivated a purely bookish attitude towards the question of the 
classes and of the class struggle. The moment they got a whiff of the revolutionary reality, they began to 
talk a different language (Le.y of conciliation and not struggle). 

We are now living through the most profound social crisis. At present the proletariat is effecting the 
demolition and the replacement of the state apparatus. The resistance on their part reflects the processes 
of our growth. No words can moderate their hatred of us. We are told that their program is presumably 
similar to ours. Give them a few seats and that will settle everything. But why do they give aid to 
Kaledin, if they have the same program as we? No. The bourgeoisie is aligned against us by virtue of all 
its class interests. And what will we achieve as against that by taking to the road of conciliation with the 
Vikzhel? . . . We are confronted with armed violence which can be overcome only by means of violence 
on our own part. Lunacharsky says that blood is flowing. What to do? Evidently we should never have 
begun. 

Then why don't you openly admit that the biggest mistake was committed not so much in October but 
towards the end of February when we entered the arena of future civil war. 

We are told that conciliation with the Vikzhel will help us against Kaledin. But why, then, do they fail to 
support us now if they are closer to us? Because they understand that however bad the counter-revolution 
may be for them, it will, nevertheless, give the tops of the Vikzhel more than the dictatorship of the 
proletariat. For the moment they are pre serving a neutrality which is not friendly to us. They are letting 
through the shock troops and Krasnov's Cossacks. The Vikzhel forbade me personally to communicate by 
direct wire with Moscow in order to report that we are progressing in our struggle against Krasnov. 
Because, if you please, this "might raise the morale there," and the members of the Vikzhel, mind you, are 
neutral. 

To conciliate with them is to continue the policies of Gotz, Dan and the rest. We are told we have no 
calico and no petroleum, therefore we must have conciliation. But I ask for the thousand and first time: 
Just how will conciliation with Gotz and Dan give us petroleum? 

Why are all the Chernovs against us? They protest because they are bourgeois through and through in 
their psychology. They are incapable of applying any serious measures against the bourgeoisie. They are 
against us precisely because we are putting into effect drastic measures against the bourgeoisie. Nobody 
can tell now what harsh measures we may yet be compelled to apply. The sum total of what the Chernovs 
can contribute to our work is: vacillation. But vacillation in the struggle against our enemies will destroy 
our authority among the masses. 

What does conciliation with Chernov mean? It does not mean that we have a heart-to-heart talk with him 
and the matter ends there. No. It means an alignment with Chernov. This would be treason. For that we 
should all deserve to be shot immediately. 



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It grieved me to hear in this assembly the applause that greeted [Lunacharsky's] reference to the 
dictatorship of a single individual. Why and on what grounds do they seek to behead the party that has 
seized power in battle, in blood shed, by demanding the removal of Lenin? Miliukov, for ex ample, was 
driven from the Government-but when? When the proletariat placed its knee on the chest of the Cadets. 
But now? Who is holding his knee on our chest? Nobody. We have held power for eight days. We are 
basing our tactics upon the revolutionary vanguard of the masses. We are told by the champions of 
conciliationism that unless we conciliate the Baltic Fleet will not give us even a rowboat. Nothing of the 
sort happened. They tried to scare us by insisting that the workers would balk. Meanwhile, the Red 
Guards are facing death bravely. No. There is no returning to half-way policies, to conciliationism. We 
will put the dictatorship of the proletariat into effect. We will compel these people to work. How did it 
happen that society existed and the masses worked under the former terror of the minority? With us it is 
not the terror of a minority but the organization of the class violence against the bourgeoisie. 

What are they scaring us with today? With the self- same thing that the Mensheviks and the Social 
Revolutionists sought to scare us yesterday. As soon as we undertake the socialist revolution [said they], 
we shall see that the Junkers take to shooting, that blood begins to flow, the bourgeoisie forges 
conspiracies, the functionary resorts to sabotage, the army committees resist. . . . Of course! But these are 
only the tops. Had we the bourgeoisie with us, there would be no civil war-nobody could gainsay that. 

The army committees are hated by the masses of the soldiery but in many cases the masses are unable to 
under take anything against them as yet. In a whole number of army divisions, however. Military 
Revolutionary Commit tees have already been elected and they have placed under arrest the officers, the 
old committees and the entire commanding staff. This has already been done in about one- fourth of the 
Army. To fraternize with the old army commit tees is to rouse the workers against us. 

The prejudices of Lunacharsky are a heritage of the petty bourgeois psychology. Naturally, that is also, in 
part, inherent in the masses, being the heritage of their slavery of yesterday. But should the 
counter-revolution threaten, even the backward masses will take up arms. The nethermost rank and file 
are placed in such a position as will make them resort to arms. It is otherwise with the Vikzhel, the army 
committees, the Social Revolutionists, the Mensheviks and all other tops. 

Lunacharsky says: We must halt — we must wait. . 

No. We must drive ahead. When you come out against us at the moment of sharp struggle, you weaken 
us. Conciliation with Chernov would provide nothing. What we need is organization and this we must 
attain. Chernov is in fear lest the people press too hard against the bourgeoisie, and take away from the 
bourgeoisie the money it has plundered. Chernov is an auxiliary lever in the hands of the bourgeoisie. He 
will merely weaken us by his petty bourgeois vacillations, nothing more. 

We must tell the workers simply and intelligibly that we do not aim to build a coalition with the 
Mensheviks and the others but that the crux of the matter lies in a program of action. We already have a 
coalition. Our coalition is with the peasants-the soldiers who are now fighting for the Bolshevik power. 
The AU-Russian Congress of Soviets transmitted power to a certain party. You seem to forget this. 

Is it permissible to share power with those elements who have heretofore even sabotaged the Soviets and 
who are today fighting from the outside against the proletarian state? All those who are ready to do so 
forget to ask themselves whether those with whom they are willing to share power are capable of 
carrying out our program. They do not even mention that. Are the Conciliationists capable of carrying 



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out the policy of economic terror? No. If after taking power we are incapable of realizing our own 
program, then we ought to go to the soldiers and workers and declare ourselves bankrupt. But nothing 
whatever can come of merely leaving a few Bolsheviks in a coalition government. We have taken power; 
we must also bear the responsibilities. 

[Motion to limit speaker to 15 mintutes.] 

NOCIN: The question as to the nature of our revolution has been settled. There is no need to talk about it 
now that our party has gained power. But can we propose to spill blood together but not rule jointly? Can 
we deny power to the soldiers? The civil war will last for many years. In our relations with the peasantry, 
we can't make much headway with bayonets. With respect to capitalist industry- we face one problem. 
With respect to the peasantry we must have a different tactic. 

The word "conciliation" grates altogether too much upon the ears of our comrades. The crux of the 
matter is not in a conciliation but in the question how to manage if we push aside all the other parties? 
The Social Revolutionists left the Soviets after the revolution; the Mensheviks did likewise. But this 
means that the Soviets will fall apart. Such a state of affairs in the face of complete chaos in the country 
will end with the shipwreck of our party in a very brief Interval. We should not bombard swallows with 
artillery. The famine conditions will provide fertile soil for Kaledin who is now advancing against us. By 
a single telegram to the railway employees informing them of our intention to deprive them of their food 
cards we would lay the basis for a mighty wave of protest. 

GLEBOV: The situation is rendered serious not because the shock troops are advancing. Power is in our 
hands and we shall be able to deal with them. But we have the beginning of sabotage within our own 
party and matters have almost reached the point of an official split. An end must be put to this. Sabotage 
is effective only to the extent that we pursue a line of conciliation with it. So long as I was conciliatory, 
the functionaries mocked at me. But as soon as I took decisive measures, I was able to adjust a great 
many things. With regard to the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, the important thing is that it has 
passed a resolution in our favor.... 

They must reckon with us. In Ivanovo- Voznesensk the proletariat has adopted a decisive resolution. They 
arrested and jailed the saboteurs and when the latter came out they were like lambs. To the comrades 
who have begun to waver, we must say: "We must part company. Stop interfering with us. Otherwise, if 
we vacillate, we shall lose everything." 

We are told that the government will be responsible to the Parliament. What sort of Parliament will it be? 
Will it by any chance resemble the Pre-Parliament? No. We are for the Soviets. There is no other way. 
The crux of the matter is not in the seats that we must assign to other parties but in that they will not 
carry out our policy. Nothing else re mains, except to say: "We must part company." 

TROSTS Y: The question has been adequately clarified by Trotsky and Lenin. During the July days, from 
July 8 to July 5, when it seemed as though the counter-revolution had defeated us, we were in reality the 
victors. The days of the insurrection have proved that we have a coalition with the masses. The peasants 
and the workers stand shoulder to shoulder. 

But the hammer of revolution, while consolidating the masses, has chipped away the Mensheviks, the 
Defensists, and the Social Revolutionists. We have seen how the Conciliationists worked against 
consolidation. Now, after we have conquered, an attempt is being made to lead us on the road of 
conciliationism. Conciliation with these people is a masked retreat from power. Hitherto the parties of 

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conciliation with the bourgeoisie have stood at the helm of power but now we stand at the helm without 
conciliation. I regard as superfluous comrade Lunacharsky's remarks about there be — no harm in giving 
the City Dumas fifty seats [in the All-Russian Central Executive Committee]. What does giving 50 seats 
imply? Surely we are not taking them in so as to furnish the premises. We stand for the Soviet power. I, 
too, should like to ask how petroleum will come pouring to us through faucets by the name of Kamkov? 
Just how will the doors of granaries open to us through the medium of the Social Revolutionists? In all 
this, there is an utter lack of principle. Why not give them 60 seats? Why not 25 or 35? The revolutionary 
masses will not follow this call. 

BOKI: Several mentions have been made here of a Conference. This is too high-sounding a name for it. 
It will be hard to call a full session tomorrow. Let us call together here, tomorrow at 7 o'clock in the 
evening, a session of the Committee plus local representatives in the Petersburg Committee. 

TROTSKY: We have had rather profound differences in our party prior to the insurrection, within the 
Central Committee as well as in the broad party circles. The same things were said; the same expressions 
were used then as now in arguing against the insurrection as hopeless. The old arguments are now being 
repeated after the victorious insurrection, this time in favor of a coalition. There will be no technical 
apparatus, mind you. You lay the colors on thick in order to frighten, in order to hinder the proletariat 
from utilizing its victory. It is true [that the apparatus is not ours]. We have had to waste so much time 
with Kerensky's miserable detachments because we lacked a technical apparatus. But under the given 
conditions we have already created a magnificent apparatus. At present we are victorious both here and 
in Moscow. Petrograd is now secure against any surprises of a military nature. 

I repeat that we shall be able to draw the petty bourgeoisie behind us only by showing that we have in 
our hands a material fighting force. We can conquer the bourgeoisie only by overthrowing it. This is the 
law of the class struggle. 

This is the guarantee of our victory. Then and only then will the Vikzhel follow us. The same might be 
said about other technical branches. The apparatus will place itself at our service only when it sees that 
we are a force. 

The October Revolution does not consist in setting the old apparatus in motion again. Our task is to 
rebuild the entire apparatus from top to bottom. For our proletarian tasks to become a living reality, we 
need our own apparatus, made up of the flesh and blood of our own class. We created such an apparatus 
of our own against Kerensky and against Krasnov beneath Petrograd. You keep repeating that we cannot 
sit on bayonets. But in order for us to carry on these discussions with you here it is indispensable to have 
bayonets at Tsarskoye Selo. 

All government is based on force and not conciliation. Our government is the force exercised by the 
majority of the people against the minority. This is beyond dispute. This is the ABC of Marxism. They 
prevented me from communication with Moscow by direct wire and then they let through the shock 
troops. They betray us in the most acute moments of the struggle. And it is proposed to us, now that we 
have conquered, that we admit them into the very strong hold of the government. 

[Motion: To limit the speakers to 10 minutes.] 

NOCIN: We, Bolsheviks, recognize that our revolution is not a bourgeois revolution. But we will 
conquer not alone but together with the peasants. It is for this reason that they must possess jointly what 
has been jointly gained by the blood of workers and soldiers. That is to say, power. Our party must be the 

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most disciplined party in the world. 
Session adjourned. 



NOTES: 

36. The modern universal calendar, differs from the old Russian by being thirteen days in advance. Thus, 
the revolution which took place on November 7, 1917, is almost always referred to by the Russians (and 
often abroad, too), as the "October Revolution" because, according to the old calendar, it took place on 
October 25, 1917. The meeting of the Petrograd Committee of the Bolsheviks was, therefore, actually 
held on November 14, 1917, a week after the insurrection. [BACK TO TEXT] 

37. Rabochi Put [Worker's Path], the Bolshevik central party organ published in Petrograd after the 
suppression of its organ Rabochi by the Provisional Government. Rabochi Put appeared between 
September 3 and October 26, 1917, and the polemic referred to by Lenin was the one directed at 
Zinoviev and Kamenev, who had broken party discipline and appeared in the columns of Gorky's paper 
with an attack on the Bolshevik plan for an insurrection. [BACK TO TEXT] 

38. Delo Naroda [People's Cause], the daily organ of the Social Revolutionary party from March 15, 
1917, until March 30, 1919. Its editorial board was directed by such men as Zenzlnov, Keren sky, 
Chernov, Gotz, Avksentiev and Sorokin, and it pursued a violently anti-Bolshevik policy both before and 
after the Novem ber Revolution. [BACK TO TEXT1 

39. An English translation of this essay, published in 1932, is available under the imprint of International 
Publishers. It pre sented Lenin's arguments in favor of taking power, and set out to prove that the 
Bolsheviks would take power and would be able to maintain it, on the basis of the program elaborated in 
the essay itself. [BACK TO TEXT] 

40. The "Internationalist-Fusionists" referred to by Lenin were the former Mezhrayontsi (see Note 5) who 
fused with the Bolsheviks at their Sixth Congress in July, 1917, the latter electing three Mezhrayontsi, 
Trotsky, Joffe and Uritsky, to their Central Committee. [BACK TO TEXT] 

41. Rumcherod, a combined term made up of abbreviations of the Joint Executive Committee of the 
Soviet of the Soldiers of the Roumanian Front, of the Black Sea Coast and of the Odessa Garrison. The 
Joint Executive was in the hands of the Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionaries who sought to 
employ it as a battering ram against the Bolshevik government. [BACK TO TEXT] 

42. Vikzhely a combined term made up of abbreviations of the Central Executive Committee of the 
All-Russian Union of Railwaymen. This body was also controlled by the Mensheviks and Social 
Revolutionaries, and disposed of a strong and powerful organization throughout the country, whereas the 
Bolsheviks were just beginning to establish an administrative apparatus of their own. For a time the 
Bolsheviks were at the mercy of the Vikzhel which controlled the movement of trains and would not 
cooperate until the Bolsheviks consented to organize a government including the Mensheviks and Social 
Revolutionaries. The sabotage of the Vikzhel was finally broken. [BACK TO TEXT] 

43. The "desertions" to Novaya Zhizn [New Life], the organ of Gorky, refers to the action taken by 
Zinoviev and Kamenev, on the eve of the insurrection, in publishing their attack on the Bolshevik plan in 

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the columns of a public organ and, moreover, a violently anti- Bolshevik paper. [BACK TO TEXT1 

44. Cadets, a combined term made up of the initials of the Con stitutional-Democrats, or the Party of 
People's Freedom, the party of the Russian democratic bourgeoisie and "liberal" landowners who, under 
the Czar, stood for a constitutional monarchy, and later even for a republic. Led by Professor Paul 
Miliukov, now the leader of a section of the counter-revolutionary emigres. [BACK TO TEXT] 

45. Smolny Institute, formerly a school for young ladies of the nobility, was taken over by the 
revolutionists and made the head quarters of the Petrograd Soviet and the Revolutionary Military 
Committee which directed the Bolshevik uprising. [BACK TO TEXT] 

46. The Junkers was the name given to the students at the officers' school. They were used in an attempt 
to crush the Bolshevik insurrection. [BACK TO TEXT] 

47. In the manifesto on "The Civil War in France," issued on May 30, 1871, in the name of the General 
Council of the International Workiugmen's Association (First International), Marx wrote: 

"But the working class cannot simply lay hold of the readymade State machinery and wield it for its own 
purposes." (The Paris Commune, New York, 1920, p. 70.) On April 12, 1871, Marx wrote to Isis friend 
Kugelmann: "If you look at the last chapter of my Eighteenth Brumaire, you will see that I declare the 
next attempt of the French Revolution to be: not merely to hand over, from one set of hands to another, 
the bureaucratic-military machine-as has occurred hitherto, but to shatter it; and it is this that is the 
preliminary condition of any real people's revolution on the Continent. That is just what our heroic 
Parisian comrades are attempting to do." (Briefe an Kugelmann, Berlin, 1924, p. 86.) [BACK TO TEXT1 



Return to Index Page — Next Chapter 



I 




The Leon Trotsky 



Archive 




The Marxist writers' 



Archives 



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Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

Two Speeches at the Session of the Central Control Commission 

THE PLAN to remove Trotsky from the leadership was conceived back in the period of Lenin's //r^"/^ 
illness, namely in 1922. Throughout the following year, 1923, the preparatory work proceeded in full 
swing. Toward the end of the year the campaign was brought into the open. This work was under the 
guidance of the "triumvirate": Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev. In 1925, the triumvirate fell apart. 
Zinoviev and Kamenev found themselves caught in the wheels of the ma chine they had created against 
Trotsky. Henceforth the Stalinist faction set itself the task of completely transforming the leading staff by 
removing from posts all those who had directed the party and the Government under Lenin. At the joint 
plenary session of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission, [481 in July 1926, Trotsky 
read a declaration which quite accurately foretold the future measures the Stalin faction would apply in 
order to substitute the Stalinist leadership for the Leninist. In the course of the next few years that 
program was carried through by the Stalinists in amazing conformity with the predictions made. 

The most important step on that path was to place Trotsky on trial before the Presidium of the Central 
Control Commission on charges of these two crimes: (1) making "factional" speeches at the Plenum of 
the E.C.C.I.; (2) participating in a farewell demonstration to Smilga, a member of the Central Committee, 
who, a short time previously, had been sent to the city of Khabarovsk in the Far East as punishment for 
being in the Opposition. Zinoviev was likewise charged with similar crimes. The proposed penalty was 
to remove both of them from the Central Committee. 

We print below the two speeches by Trotsky at the Presidium of the Central Control Commission which 
sat as the court of trial. The author has considerably condensed his two speeches wherever questions of 
minor importance were concerned. In other respects the speeches are reprinted as they were delivered 
except for minor corrections in style. 

THE FIRST SPEECH 

TROTSKY: Before proceeding with my speech-and I am in doubt whether I speak here as the defendant 
or the accuser - I must insist on the removal of comrade Janson from the judges' bench on the ground 
that he is disqualified by his entire previous activity. All of you are, of course, well aware of the fact that 
since 1924 there has existed a factional "septemvirate" composed of all the members of the Political 
Bureau, with the exception of myself. My own place was taken by your former chairman, Kuibyshev, 
who, as was his duty, should have been the foremost guardian of party statutes and morals but who was 
in fact their foremost violator and corruptor. This septemvirate constituted an illegal and anti-party 
institution which disposed of the fate of the party behind its back. Comrade Zinoviev in one of his 

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Speeches at the session of the Central Committee named Jan- son as one of those who had participated in 
the functioning of the anti-party septemvirate. Nobody has refuted this statement. Janson himself has 
kept mum. Although there are others equally guilty of the same crime, in Janson's case we have recorded 
testimony. At the present moment Janson is about to sit in judgment upon me for anti-party conduct. I 
demand the removal of Janson from the judges' bench. 

CHAIRMAN ORDJONIKIDZE: That is impossible. You are doubtless joking, comrade Trotsky. 

TROTSKY: It is not my custom to joke in important and serious questions. I realize that the Presidium 
may possibly be placed in a somewhat awkward position by my proposal, because I am afraid that among 
the personnel of the Presidium there may be others who likewise participated in the work of the 
septemvirate. But it was never my intention to turn my proposal into a joke. The fact is that I, a member 
of the Political Bureau, knew nothing of these meetings at the time, even if they did take place under the 
guise of "drafting notices." At these meetings were elaborated the ways and means of conducting the 
fight against me. In particular, it was there decided and made binding upon members of the Political 
Bureau not to polemicize against each other, but for all to polemicize against Trotsky. The party was not 
informed of it. Neither was I. This went on for a long time. ... I did not say that comrade Ordjonikidze 
was a member of the septemvirate, but that he participated in the work of this factional septemvirate. 

ORDJONIKIDZE: It may have been Janson, but not Ordjonikidze. Aren't you making a mistake? 

TROTSKY: I beg your pardon, although I do believe that the mistake is purely of a formal character. I 
did in fact refer to Janson. I did not say that comrade Janson was a member of the septemvirate itself. No, 
but he did participate in the work of this factional septemvirate, for which there is no provision made in 
the party statutes, and which functioned against the statutes and the will of the party-other wise it would 
have had no reason for hiding. Should it prove that other comrades present here participated like Janson 
in the work of this factional septemvirate, then I humbly ask that my request for removal be extended to 
include them also. 

[The proposal to remove Janson from the judges' bench is instantly rejected by the Presidium.] 

TROTSKY: The comrades wish to picture matters as if it is necessary to remove us from the Central 
Committee be cause of the incident at the Yaroslav railway station, because of Zinoviev's speech over the 
radio, and my "conduct" at the E. C.C.I. [491 All this might have seemed very plausible, but not in the light 
of our declaration which we, the Opposition, presented to the Central Committee as far back as the 
beginning of last July. In this declaration we forecast with complete clarity and in detail all the paths of 
your struggle against us. We predicted that you would seize upon the slightest pretext in order to achieve 
the program of reconstructing the party leadership, conceived by your factional tops long ago, even prior 
to the July Plenum, prior to the Fourteenth Party Congress. 

You have brought me up on two charges. First — my speech at the E. C.C.I. I have maintained, and still 
maintain, that the Central Control Commission can in no case sit in judgment upon me for a speech I 
delivered at the Plenum of the E.C.C.I., which is a higher body. If this still remains incomprehensible to 
comrade Janson, he should ponder the matter and re-read the statutes of the Communist Inter national 
and the statutes of our party. He would then understand that I am right, just as I would be absolutely right 
in denying a District Control Commission the right to sit in judgment upon me for any speech I may have 
made as a member of the Central Committee of the party. 



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The second charge ~ the farewell demonstration to Smilga at the Yaroslav railway station. You banished 
Smilga to Khabarovsk. Once again I make an urgent request that you at least agree among yourselves 
upon a uniform explanation for this exile. In the Commission, Shkyratov shouted: "There is work to be 
done in Khabarovsk, too!" If Smilga was sent, as a matter of normal procedure, to work in Khabarovsk, 
then you cannot dare claim that our collective farewell was a demonstration against the Central 
Committee. However, if this is an administrative exile of a comrade, who is at the present moment 
needed at responsible posts, that is, at fighting Soviet posts, then you are duping the party. You are guilty 
of duplicity. Are you going to repeat again that Smilga was sent to Khabarovsk as a normal assignment 
of work? And at the same time are you going to accuse us of demonstrating against the Central 
Committee? Such politics are double-dealing. 

But I wish to pass from these calumnies presented as charges to the fundamental political question. 

On the war danger. In the declaration which we presented last July, we said: "The paramount condition 
for the defense of the Soviet Union and, therefore, for the maintenance of peace is the indissoluble tie 
between the ever growing and ever more powerful Red Army and the toiling masses of our country and 
of the entire world. A]l economic, political and cultural measures which tend to raise the role of the 
working class in the state, which strengthen the ties of the working class with the agricultural laborers 
and i\\^ poor peasants, and its alliance with the middle peasants — thereby strengthen the Red Army, 
assure the inviolability of the land of the Soviets and reinforce the cause of peace." 

Here is adequate proof that a year ago we called upon you to concentrate on the question of the war 
danger and the internal dangers in the U.S.S.R. during war-time. These are not special questions. They 
are questions of our class policy, of our entire course. When Kalinin, the formal head of the State, the 
Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, delivers a speech in Tver to 
the effect that we need stalwart and strong soldiers, and that only a middle peasant can make a stalwart 
and strong soldier, and that the poor peasants cannot provide such soldiers be cause there are many puny 
ones among them, then we have here nothing else than an open orientation towards the strong "middle 
peasant," a label which serves to camouflage none other than the kulak, or a candidate for kulakdom. 
Kalinin forgets our having accomplished the October Revolution in which the puny and the thin 
conquered the tall and the strong. Why were they able to conquer? Because there existed and still exist 
many more of them than of the others. You will say, "The honorable Mikhail Ivanovich [Kalinin] is 
given to saying a lot of things!" But did you curb him? No, you did not, you curbed us instead when we 
criticized his line which deprecates the poor peasant and encourages the kulak- the self- same kulak whom 
Yakovlev is covering up with his statistical tricks. It is Yakovlev who should be up on trial, but instead 
Yakovlev is about to pass judgment on us. 

The war danger is now being exploited by you in order to hound the Opposition and to prepare for its 
physical annihilation. Of all the labors of the E.C.C.I., where we discussed the question of the war 
danger, the question of the British labor movement and especially the question of the Chinese 
Revolution, you have issued for the information of the party only this little red pamphlet, which I hold in 
my hand, and which you have issued against the Opposition. Moreover, even in this case - how shall I 
say ? — you pilfered my speech from the minutes on the pretext that I had not yet "corrected it." This 
means precisely that you are exploiting the war danger primarily against us. 

We declare that we shall continue to criticize the Stalinist regime so long as you do not physically seal 
our lips. Until you clamp a gag on our mouths we shall continue to criticize this Stalinist regime which 



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will otherwise undermine all the conquests of the October Revolution. Back in the reign of the Czar there 
were patriots who used to confound the fatherland with the ruling administration. We have nothing in 
common with them. We will continue to criticize the Stalinist regime as a worthless regime, a regime of 
back- sliding, an ideologically emasculated, narrow-minded and short-sighted regime. 

For one year we tried to hammer into your heads the meaning of the Anglo-Russian Committee. [501 We 
told you that it was ruining the developing revolutionary movement of the English proletariat. In the 
meantime, all your authority, the entire accumulated experience of Bolshevism, the authority of Leninism 
— all this you threw on the scales in support of Purcell. You will say, "But we criticize him!" This is 
nothing else than a new form of support to opportunism by back sliding Bolsheviks. You "criticize" 
Purcell ~ ever more mildly, ever more rarely-and you remain tied to him. But what is he enabled to say 
in reply to revolutionists in his own country when they brand him as the agent of Chamberlain? He is 
able to say, "Now look here! Tomsky himself, a member of the Political Bureau and Chairman of the 
All-Russian Central Council of the Trade Unions who sent money to the English strikers, has made 
criticisms of me but nevertheless we are working hand in hand. How dare you call me the agent of 
imperialism?" Would he be right or wrong? He would be right. In a devious way you have placed the 
entire machinery of Bolshevism at the disposal of Purcell. That is what we accuse you of. This is a very 
grave accusation-far graver than bidding Smilga farewell at the Yaroslav station. What have you done to 
Bolshevism? What have you done in the space of a few years to all the authority of Bolshevism, all its 
experience, and the entire theory of Marx and Lenin? You have told the workers of the world, and above 
all our Moscow workers, that in the event of war the Anglo-Russian Committee would be the organizing 
center of the struggle against imperialism. But we have said and still say that in the event of war the 
Anglo-Russian Committee will be a ready-made trench for all the turn-coats of the breed of the false, 
half-way friends of the Soviet Union, and for all the deserters to the camp of the enemies of the Soviet 
Union. Thomas gives open support to Chamberlain. But Purcell supports Thomas, and that is the main 
thing. Thomas maintains himself upon the support of the capitalists. Purcell maintains himself by 
deceiving the masses and lends Thomas his support. And you are lending support to Purcell. You accuse 
us of giving support to Chamberlain. No! It is you yourselves who are linked up with Chamberlain 
through your Right wing. It is you who stand in a common front with Purcell who supports Thomas and, 
together with the latter. Chamberlain. That is the verdict of a political analysis and not a charge based on 
calumny. 

The devil only knows what is already being said about the Opposition at meetings, particularly at 
meetings of workers' and peasants' nuclei. Questions are raised as to the "resources" used by the 
Opposition to carry on its "work." It may be that illiterate and unconscious workers, or your own plants, 
are sending up such questions as are worthy of the Black Hundred. [5 11 . . . And there are scoundrels 
acting as reporters who have the audacity to give evasive answers to such written questions. If you were 
really a Central Control Commission, you would be duty-bound to put an end to this dirty, abominable, 
contemptible and purely Stalinist campaign against the Opposition. We, on the other hand, are not 
preoccupied with spreading calumny. We present an open political declaration: Chamberlain and Thomas 
are in a common front; they are supported by Purcell, without whose support they are ciphers; but you 
are supporting Purcell and thereby weakening the U.S.S.R. and strengthening imperialism. This is an 
honest political declaration! And you yourselves are feeling the weight of it at this very moment. 

If you were seriously mindful of the war danger, as you claim, how could there possibly have been the 
wild internal party repressions which are now becoming more and more unbridled? How can you at the 



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present time discard first class military workers who are being removed from military activity because, 
although they are ready and able to fight for the Socialist fatherland, they consider the present policy of 
the Central Committee false and ruinous? Have you many such military workers as Smilga, 
Mrachkovsky, Lashevich and Bakayev? I have heard that it is your intention to remove Muralov from 
Military Inspection because he was a signatory to the Declaration of 83. [521 You are as one with Purcell 
and other "fighters against war" of the same stripe, but you want to remove Muralov from Military 
Inspection. [Commotion in the hall Shouts: "Who gave you that report?''] No one "reported" it to me, 
but there is widespread talk of it. 

ORDJONIKINZE: You anticipate too much. 

TROTSKY: That was well put, indeed! I am stating 48 hours ahead of time what you will do a little later, 

[Muralov, one of the most outstanding leaders of the Red Army, was shortly thereafter not only removed from Military 
Inspection but expelled from the party and exiled to Siberia where he is at present. -- L. T. ] 

[Muralov was executed as a "Fascist agent" on February 1, 1937, following the conviction of the 17 
defendants in the trial of Radek, Platakov, et al, in January 1937. - MS. ] just as last July we presented 
you beforehand with the entire itinerary of your struggle against us. A new stage of development is now 
in order. 

What about the students in the Military Academy and in the Academy of the Air Corps? You are 
expelling the best students for being in the Opposition. I have succeeded in obtaining brief biographies of 
the four students whom you expelled the other day on the eve of their graduation from the Military 
Academies. The first biography is that of Okhotnikov; the second — Kuzmichev; the third — Broidto; the 
fourth - Kapel. Here is the first: Okhotitjkov, born in 1897; father and mother, peasants (from 
Bessarabia); they possessed no land of their own, hut worked on that of the landlord. He received only an 
elementary education. Until 1915, worked for his father and hired out as a truckman. From 1915, served 
as a soldier in the Czarist army. During the February Revolution was in the city of Ekaterinoslav; elected 
delegate from the reserve artillery to the Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies, but was transferred in May to the 
4th Army at the front because of Bolshevik tendencies, and was there a delegate from the 14th Artillery 
Brigade to the divisional and corps committee. During the October Revolution, having been wounded in 
battle, he was convalescing in a hospital. Upon leaving the hospital in December 1917, he organized, 
acting under the leadership of the Bolshevik party, a partisan detachment and fought against the 
Romanian occupation troops. In 1918, he joined the underground organization in Bessarabia. Served as 
chairman of the under ground Revolutionary Committee of Teletsk district, and as commander of the 
partisan detachment. For his activities he was tried twice by the Romanian court martial and was 
sentenced to death, but escaped. In 1919, he came with the partisans to the Ukraine, where he joined the 
45th Red Division. Served in various commanding posts. Throughout the war remained at the front, and 
at the conclusion of the war repeatedly took part in the struggle against the White bandits. In 1924, he 
entered the Military Academy and was assigned to a preparatory course in view of his not having had a 
general schooling. He graduated from the first course to the second cttm lasule. He was first brought up 
on charges in the party for Oppositionist views in February 1927. Expelled from the Academy for 
participating in the "farewell to Smilga." 

Thus far I have in my possession four biographies which do not differ from each other in any 
fundamental respect. They are all soldiers of the revolution, soldiers of the party, wounded in battle, 
honored with certificates by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, recipients of 
the medals of the Red Banner, tempered revolutionists who will remain faithful to October, who will 

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fight to the end for October-but whom you are driving out of the Mihtary Academies. Is that the way to 
prepare for the mihtary defense of the revolution? 

We are accused, as is well known, of pessimism and lack of faith. How did the accusation of 
"pessimism" originate? This foolish and contemptible word was put in circulation, I believe, by Stalin. 
But a good deal more faith than most of you have in the international revolution is required to swim 
against the current. What is the origin of the accusation of lack of faith? It is the notorious theory of 
building socialism in one country. We refuse to believe in this theory of Stalin's. 

ZINOVIEV: In 1925, Ordjonikidze told me that I must write against Stalin. 

TROTSKY: We refused to believe in this revelation which tends to distort fundamentally Marx and 
Lenin. We did not believe in this revelation and therefore we are pessimists and men of little faith. 

But do you know who was the precursor of Stalin, "the optimist"? 

I have brought with me and, if you wish, will deliver into your hands an important document. It is an 
article written in 1879 by VoUmar, who later became famous as a German social-patriot. This article is 
entitled, "The Isolated Socialist State. "[53] It ought to be translated and sent to all members of the Central 
Committee and the Central Control Commission and, indeed, to all members of the party. 

The German social democrat Voilmar developed the theory of national socialism back in 1879, whereas 
his epigone Stalin set about creating his "original" theory only in 1924. Why in 1879? Because that was 
the time of reaction, the period of a widespread decline in the European labor movement. The French 
Commune was crushed in 1871. Up to 1879 there was no revolutionary movement in France. In England, 
liberal trade unionism and liberal-labor policies triumphed all along the line. This was the time of the 
most profound decline in the English and continental revolutionary movement. Meanwhile, in Germany, 
the social democracy was developing quite rapidly. In consequence of that contradiction, Voilmar arrived 
at his original theory of socialism in one country. And do you know how Volimar ended? He ended by 
becoming an extreme Right wing Bavarian social democrat, a chauvinist. You will say that the situation 
today is different. Of course, the general situation today is different. 

But the proletariat in European countries has suffered major defeats during the last few years. Hopes are 
deferred today for an international revolution, for its immediate victory as was the hope in 1918-1919, 
and some of the "optimists" in the majority have lost this hope altogether and are there fore driving to a 
conclusion that we can get along without an international revolution. Precisely therein lies the pre 
requisite for the opportunistic back- sliding to the narrow nationalistic Volmarism, beginning with his 
theory of socialism in one country. 

You accuse us of pessimism and lack of faith both in connection with this theory and without any 
connection with it. We, the Opposition, are a "tiny clique" of pessimists and men of little faith. The party 
stands united and in it all are optimists and men of great faith. Isn't this much too simple a picture? 
Permit me to put the question in the following manner: Will a careerist, i.e., a man seeking personal 
advancement, now join the Opposition? Certainly not, unless he is such a wily fellow as will join only to 
withdraw immediately in order to he at once enrolled among the "best representatives" of our party and 
our country. But these are, so to speak, supremely contemptible exceptions. If you were to take the 
average careerist, then, I ask, will such an individual seek his career through the Opposition under the 
present conditions? You yourselves know that he will not. Will a self-seeker join the Opposition under 



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present conditions when worker-Bolsheviks are being driven, for Opposition activity, from factories and 
mills and into the ranks of the unemployed- all of whom will fight no worse when the need arises than all 
those now assembled here? The self-seeker will not join. The example of the worker-Oppositionists is 
proof that despite the repressions, there are still men left in the ranks of the party who have the courage 
to fight for their opinions. The prime quality of every revolutionist is the ability to dare swim against the 
current, the ability to struggle for his opinions even under the most adverse conditions. I ask once again: 
Will the man-about-town, the functionary and the self-seeker join the Opposition? No, they will not. Will 
the workers with large families, who have grown weary and have become disillusioned in the revolution 
and who remain in the party out of inertia, go into the Op position? No, they will not. They will say: 
"The regime is, of course, bad, but let them do whatever they please, I am not the one to butt in." What 
are the qualities a man re quires to join the Opposition under the present conditions? He must have a very 
firm faith in his cause, i.e., the cause of the proletarian revolution-a genuine revolutionary faith. But you 
demand only faith in a protective coloration; the faith to vote as the authorities vote, to identify the 
Socialist fatherland with the district committee and to emulate the secretary. If you are a manager or an 
administrator, you must insure yourself through the district commit-tee or through the secretary of the 
regional committee. 

How is your great faith tested? Through 100% votes. Whoever does not wish to participate in such 
compulsory voting seeks on occasion to sneak out. But the secretary will not allow it-he must vote, and 
he must vote as per instructions, and the names of those who abstain are noted down. Do you think you 
can hide all this from the proletariat? What are you trifling with? I repeat: What are you trifling with? 
You are trifling ominously with your selves, with the revolution and the party! The man who always 
votes 100% with you, the man who "smeared" yesterday Trotsky, today Zinoviev, and who will 
tomorrow "smear" Bukharin and Rykov, will never make a staunch soldier in the difficult hours of the 
revolution. But the Opposition gives proof of its loyalty and courage precisely because it does not 
surrender in the most difficult period of back- sliding and repression, but gathers around itself the most 
valuable fighting elements who can he neither bribed nor brow-beaten. 

JANSON: There are careerists and self-seekers among the Oppositionists as well. 

TROTSKY: Name them! You need only name them, and then we, together with you, will drive them out. 
Where are they? The main nucleus of the Opposition is composed of elements who can be neither bribed 
nor brow-beaten. 

The party regime stifles, chokes and chains the party; and it camouflages the profound class processes 
taking place in the country, with which we are confronted at the very first rumors of the war danger and 
which will confront us still more sharply at the outbreak of the war. 

The present regime effaces the vanguard of the proletariat because it allows no opportunity for stating 
openly and honestly whence the danger threatens-and the proletariat is threatened with danger from the 
side of the non-proletarian classes. The entire past period consists in this, that the proletariat is being 
politically shrivelled up while the other classes are unfolding. 

Bound up with this is the question of the workers' state. One of the many scandalous lies that are being 
disseminated systematically through Pravda is the allegation that I said that our state is not a workers' 
state. This is done by employing a falsified interpretation of an uncorrected speech of mine in which I 
merely developed Lenin's attitude towards the Soviet state, counterpoising it to the Molotov position. 
Lenin said that we had taken over many of the worst things from the Czarist apparatus. But what are you 

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saying now? You are making a fetish of the worker's state, and are seeking to sanctify the given state as a 
special sort of state "by divine dispensation." And who is the most accompHshed theoretician of such 
sanctification? It is Molotov. That is his contribution. I shall again read you what he said. You have 
suppressed my criticism of Molotov, while Pravda has distorted it. But here is what Molotov said against 
Kamenev at the Fourteenth Party Conference of the Moscow district: 

"Our state is a workers' state. . . . But we are being offered a formula according to which it would be 
more correct to say that the working class must be drawn still closer to our state. . . . What is this? We 
must set ourselves the task of drawing the workers closer to our state, but what is our state - whose is it? 
Is it not that of the workers themselves? Is it not the state of the proletariat? How is it possible then to 
draw closer to the state, i.e., to draw the workers them selves closer to the working class which is in 
power and which is controlling the state?" (Pravda, Dec. 18, 1925.) These are Molotov's words. This, 
comrades, is the most dull witted criticism of the Leninist concept of a given workers' state which can 
become genuinely and completely a workers' state only with the accomplishment of a colossal work of 
criticism, correction and improvement. But according to Molotov, the given state is something absolute 
which it is no longer possible to draw closer to the masses. It is to this bureaucratic fetishism that my 
refutation, or rather my ex position of the Leninist analysis of the Soviet state, applies. [Shouts.] 

You say here, "What must be done?" If you really are of the opinion that there is nothing to be done 
against the phenomena I have indicated, then it means that you concede the revolution is bound to perish. 
Because, on the present path, it must perish. It means that you are the real pessimists, even if you are 
smug. Yet it is entirely possible to remedy the situation with a change of policy. But before we can 
decide what to do, we must say what is; we must specify the direction in which the processes are 
moving. If you were to consider such an acute problem as the housing question, you would discover that 
two processes are occur ring here, reflected in statistics that you can easily verify: The proletariat is 
undergoing a shrinkage in living quarters while the other classes are expanding. I am not even referring 
to the village, where construction is proceeding apace. Of course it is not the poor peasants who are 
building, but the tops, the kulak and the strong middle peasant. But what have we in the cities? The 
so-called "kastari" [handicraft workers], i.e., the petty bourgeoisie, the small business men the traders 
and the specialists-all of them occupy this year more cubic feet per person. But there is less space per 
worker this year than last year. Before there is any talk of what to do, we must honestly state the facts. 
Just as in the housing question, so in every-day life, in literature, in the theater and in politics-the 
non-proletarian classes are expanding, getting elbow room, while the proletariat is being squeezed and is 
shrinking. I repeat: Just as the bourgeois classes are expanding in the material sphere — you can observe 
this on the streets, in the stores, in the trolleys and in the apartments — just so in politics; the proletariat 
as a whole is being shrunk, while oor party regime strengthens this class shrinkage of the proletariat. 
This is the fundamental fact. The blow threatens from the Right- from the side of the non-proletarian 
classes. Our criticism must be aimed to rouse the proletariat to take cognizance of the impending danger, 
and not to permit the proletariat to think that power has been conquered irrevocably and for all time, 
regardless of the conditions; and that the Soviet state is presumably an absolute which remains a workers' 
state always and under all conditions. It is important that the proletariat should understand that in a 
certain historical period, especially with a false policy of the leadership, the Soviet state may become an 
apparatus through which power may be shifted from the proletarian base and drawn to the bourgeoisie, 
which would subsequently discard completely the Soviet covering and transform its power into a 
Bonapartist rule. With a false political line such a danger is quite real. 

Without an international revolution, socialism cannot be built. Without correct policies, calculated on the 

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international revolution and not on supporting Purcell, you will not only fail to build socialism, but you 
will doom the Soviet power itself. It is urgent that the proletariat understand this. The fault of the 
Opposition, our crime, lies in the fact that we refuse to lull ourselves, and "optimistically" to shut our 
eyes to the dangers confronting our revolution. 

The real danger is from the Right, not from the Right wing of our party-the Right wing of our party 
serves only as a transmitting mechanism-the real, basic danger comes from the side of the bourgeois 
classes who are raising their heads, whose ideologist is Ustrialov, that wise and far-seeing bourgeois to 
whom Lenin used to listen and against whom he warned. You all know that Ustrialov is not supporting 
us; he supports Stalin. In the autumn of 1926, Ustrialov wrote: "What we need now is a new maneuver, a 
new impulse, to put it figuratively, a Neo-Nep. From this standpoint, it must be recognized that a number 
of actual concessions recently made by the party to the Opposition cannot fail to inspire serious 
apprehension." Further: "All hail to the Political Bureau if the declaration of repentance on the part of the 
leaders of the Opposition is the result of their one-sided and unconditionol capitulation. But woe to it, if 
it is the fruit of a compromise with them. If the latter is the case, the struggle must inevitably flare up 
again. . . . The victorious Central Executive Committee must acquire an inner immunity against the 
decomposing poison of the Opposition. It must draw all the necessary conclusions from the defeat of the 
Opposition. . . . Otherwise, it will be a calamity for our country. ... It is thus [continues Ustrialov] that 
the cause must be approached by the Russian intelligentsia within the country, by the business elements 
and the specialist circles, the ideologists of evolution and not of revolution." Ustrialov draws the 
conclusion: "That is why we are now. . . definitely in favor of Stalin. " And what is your reply to that? 
You seek to remove the Opposition from the Central Committee for the time being only from the C.C. 
Ustrialov is a bourgeois who is acquainted with the history of the great French bourgeoisie, indeed, very 
well acquainted with it. And this spokesman for the moods of the new bourgeoisie understands that only 
the back-sliding of the Bolsheviks themselves can prepare the power for the new bourgeoisie least 
painfully. Supporting the Stalinist C.C, Ustrialov writes that it is necessary to safeguard (what?) against 
the decomposing Poison of the Opposition. In consequence he also is in agreement with you that the 
Opposition is ~ a decomposing poison; that it is necessary to destroy this poison, otherwise "it will be a 
calamity for our country." That is what Ustrialov says. That is why he is not only against me, but also 
why he sup ports Stalin. Reflect on this. You are dealing here not with ignorant people, the unconscious 
or the duped who think that the Opposition carries on its activity with English money- no, Ustrialov is a 
very class-conscious man, he knows what he is saying and whither he is going. Why then does he support 
you? What is he defending together with you? 

I was recently informed that comrade Soltz, in the course of a conversation with one of the comrades 
who had signed the declaration of the Opposition, drew an analogy with the French Revolution. Now I 
am of the opinion that this method is a correct one — I believe that a factual exposition and a Marxian 
interpretation of the Great French Revolution, especially of its last period, should be now reprinted for 
the benefit of the party. Comrade Soltz is present here, he knows better than I do what he said, and if I 
quote him erroneously, he will correct me. "What does the Declaration of 83 mean?" said Soltz. "What 
does it lead to? You know the history of the French Revolution,-and to what this led: to arrests and to the 
guillotine." Comrade Vorobiev, with whom comrade Soltz was talking, asked him, "So then, is it your 
intention to guillotine us?" To which Soltz replied by going into a lengthy explanation, "In your opinion, 
wasn't Robespierre sorry for Danton when sending him to the guillotine? And then Robespierre had to go 
himself. 

Do you think he was not sorry? Sure he was, but he had to do it. . . 

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That was the substance of the conversation. I repeat that we must at this time at all costs refresh our 
knowledge of the Great French Revolution-it is absolutely indispensable. We might begin even with 
Kropotkin, who was not a Marxist but who understood better than Jaures the national and class subsoil of 
the Revolution. 

During the Great French Revolution, many were guillotined. We, too, had many people brought before 
the firing squad. But in the Great French Revolution there were two great chapters, of which one went 
like this [points upward] and the other like that [points downward]. We must under stand this. When the 
chapter headed like this-upwards- the French Jacobins, the Bolsheviks of that time, guillotined the 
Royalists and the Girondists. We, too, have had a similar great chapter when we, the Oppositionists, 
together with you, shot the White Guards and exiled the Girondists. And then there began another 
chapter in France, when the French Ustrialovs and semi-Ustrialovs-the Thermidorians and the 
Bonapartists from among the Right wing Jacobins-began exiling and shooting the Left Jacobins-the 
Bolsheviks of that time. I should like comrade Soltz to think his analogy through to the end and, first of 
all, to give himself an answer to the following question: In accordance with which chapter is Soltz 
preparing to have us shot? [Commotion in the hall] This is no jesting matter; revolution is a serious 
business. None of us is scared by firing squads. We are all old revolutionists. But the thing is to know 
whoon to shoot, and in accordance with which chapter. When we did the shooting we were firm in our 
knowledge as to the chapter. But, comrade Soltz, do you clearly understand in accordance with which 
chapter you are now preparing to shoot? I fear, comrade Soltz, that you are about to shoot us in 
accordance with the Ustrialov, i.e., Thermidorian chapter. [541 

When the term "Thermidorian" is used among us, it is taken for a term of abuse. It is thought that the 
Thermidorians were arrant counter-revolutionists, conscious sup porters of the monarchic rule, and so on. 
Nothing of the kind! The Thermidorians were Jacobins, with this difference, that they had moved to the 
Right. The Jacobin organization-the then Bolsheviks-under the pressure of class contradictions, shortly 
arrived at the conviction that it was necessary to destroy the Robespierre group. Do you think that on the 
very next day after the 9th of Thermidor they said to themselves: We have now transferred power into 
the hands of the bourgeoisie? Nothing of the kind! Refer to all the newspapers of that time. They said: 
We have destroyed a handful of people who disrupted peace in the party, but now, after their destruction, 
the revolution will triumph completely. If comrade Soltz has any doubts about it. 

SOLTZ: You are practically repeating my own words. 

TROTSKY: So much the better. If we are agreed on this, comrade Soltz, then it will help us considerably 
to decide the question as to what chapter you are preparing to open by the physical annihilation of the 
Opposition. One thing must be firmly understood: Unless we undertake to rectify the class line of the 
party, as it should be done, the line indicated by Ustrialov will have to be pursued inevitably in side the 
party, i.e., the line of a ruthless struggle against the Opposition. 

I shall read you what was said by Brival, who was a Right Jacobin, one of the Thermidorians, when he 
reported about the session of the Convention during which Robespierre and the other Jacobins were 
handed over to the Revolutionary Tribunal: "Intriguers and counter-revolutionists covering themselves 
with the toga of patriotism sought the destruction of liberty; the Convention decreed to place them under 
arrest. These representatives were: Robespierre, Couthon, Saint- Just, Lebas and Robespierre the 
Younger. The chairman asked what my opinion was. I replied: Those who had always voted in 
accordance with the spirit of the principles of the Mountain both in the Legislative Assembly as well as 



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in the Convention, those voted for the arrest. I did even more than that, for I am one of those who 
proposed this measure. More- over, as secretary, I made haste to sign and to transmit this decree of the 
Convention." That is how the report was made by a Soltz or a Janson of that time. Robespierre and his 
associates ~ those were the counter-revolutionists. "Those who had always voted in accordance with the 
spirit of the principles of the Mountain" signified in the language of that time, "those who had always 
been Bolsheviks." Brival considered himself an old Bolshevik. "As secretary, I made haste to sign and to 
transmit this decree of the Convention." Today, too, there are secretaries who make haste "to sign and to 
transmit." Today, too, there are such secretaries. 

Listen further to the Manifesto of the Convention to France, to the country and to the people, after the 
annihilation of Rcbespierre, Saint- Just and the others: "Citizens, amid the brilliant victories over the 
foreign enemies, the Republic is threatened by a new danger. . . . The work of the Convention will prove 
barren, and the courage of our armies will lose all meaning, if the French citizens vacillate in their choice 
between the Fatherland and a few isolated individuals.... Oh^y the call of the Fatherland, do not join the 
ranks of the evil-minded aristocrats and the enemies of the people and you will once again save the 
Fatherland." 

They reckoned that in the path of the triumph of the revolution stood the interests of "a few isolated 
individuals." They did not understand that these "isolated individuals" reflected the nethermost 
revolutionary elemental forces of that time. These "few individuals" reflected the elemental forces that 
were against the "Neo-Nep" and against Bonapartism. The Thermidorians thought that the issue involved 
a change of individuals and not a class shift. "Obey the call of the Fatherland, do not join the ranks of the 
evil-minded aristocrats." The friends of Robespierre-these were the aristocrats." And did we not hear 
today the very same cry "Aristocrat!" from the lips of Janson addressed to me? 

I could quote you any number of articles wherein the revolutionary Jacobins are referred to as the agents 
of the Chamberlain of that time, who was Pitt. The analogy is truly startling! In Chamberlain you have 
the modern pocket edition of Pitt. Take Aulard's history [of the French Revolution]. "The enemies were 
not content with killing Robespierre and his friends; they calumniated them, picturing them in the eyes of 
France as Royalists and as men who had sold themselves to foreigners." That is the literal wording of the 
passage. And today, does not Pravda's article entitled "The Path of the Opposition" swerve into a similar 
path? Whoever is familiar with the last leading article of Pravda cannot possibly miss the odor. The odor 
of the "second chapter" assails one's nostrils. The odor of this second chapter is Ustrialovism, which is 
already penetrating through the official institutions of our party, and which is disarming the revolutionary 
van guard of the proletariat at a time when the party regime stifles everyone who struggles against 
Thermidor. In the party the mass worker has been stifled. The rank and file worker is silent. 

You desire a new "purge" in the name of silence. Such is the party regime. Recall the history of the 
Jacobin clubs. They had two chapters of purges there. When the wave went like this [upwards], the 
moderates were ejected. When the line began to curve downwards, the revolutionary Jacobins began to 
be ejected. What did this do to the Jacobin clubs? An anonymous regime of terror was instituted, for 
silence was made compulsory, --00% votes and abstention from all criticism were demanded, thinking in 
accordance with orders from above was made obligatory, and men were compelled to unlearn to think 
that the party is a living, independent organism and not a self-sufficing machine of power. The then 
Central Control Commission-there were likewise institutions at that time which fulfilled your 
functions-together with the revolution as a whole, went through two chapters. In the second chapter it 
disaccustomed the members of the party from thinking, and compelled them to accept blindly every thing 



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from above. The Jacobin clubs, the crucibles of revolution, became the nurseries of future functionaries 
of Napoleon. We should learn from the French Revolution. But is it really necessary to repeat it? 
[Shouts.] 

This was not said in factional jesting. No one would risk for the sake of trifles and trash such great things 
as are at stake between us. I do not know whether this is my last opportunity to express myself on these 
questions before this body. I do not know how quickly you will effect in the future the itinerary to which 
I referred in the beginning of my speech. But I sought to use the eighty minutes allotted to me not to 
refute the miserable petty charges you have presented against me but to pose the basic questions in 
dispute. 

What to do in order to avoid a split? Is it possible to avoid one? If we were living under the conditions of 
the period prior to the imperialist war, prior to the revolution, under the condition of a comparatively 
slow accumulation of contradictions, I believe that a split would be far more likely than the preservation 
of unity. It would be criminal to have any illusions about the profundity of our differences. But we have a 
different situation now. Our differences have sharpened frightfully, the contradictions have become very 
great. During the most recent period, in the course of the Chinese Revolution, the differences have again 
increased in the extreme. But at the same time we have, in the first place, a gigantic revolutionary 
potential in the party, we possess gigantic ideological wealth of accumulated experience in the works of 
Lenin, in the program of the party, in the traditions of the party. You have squandered a great deal of this 
capital, you have substituted for a lot, the cheap surrogates of the "modern school" which prevails now in 
the party press. But a good deal of pure gold still remains. In the second place, we have the present 
historical period of abrupt turns, gigantic events, colossal lessons from which one can and must learn. 
There are stupendous facts, which provide the test for the two lines. But you must not dare hide these 
facts. Sooner or later they will become known anyway. You cannot hide the victories and defeats of the 
proletariat. It is possible to make it easier or more difficult for the party to familiarize itself with these 
lessons and to assimilate them. You make it more difficult. That is why it is we, and we alone, who are 
the optimists. We say that we are rectifying the policies of the party, without a split. We are fighting and 
will continue to fight for the line of the October Revolution. We are now so profoundly convinced of the 
correctness of our line that we have no doubt that this line will make its way into the consciousness of the 
proletarian majority of our party. 

What then is the duty of the C.C.C. under these conditions? It seems to me that the duty of the C.C.C. 
under these conditions should be to create, for this sharp and critical period, a more healthy and flexible 
regime in the party so as to enable the gigantic events to provide the test for the antagonistic lines 
without any convulsions. It is necessary to secure for the party the possibility of ideological self-criticism 
on the basis of the great events. If this is done, I am certain that, in a year or two, the course of the party 
will be rectified. There is no need to rush, there is no necessity for adopting such decisions as cannot be 
later remedied. Beware lest you are compelled to say: We parted company with those whom we should 
have preserved, while preserving those from whom we should have parted. 

THE SECOND SPEECH 

TROTSKY: I am pleased to take note of comrade Ordjonikidze's declaration that in his opinion, as well 
as in mine, bureaucratism has grown during the past year. It is not a question of the mere number of 
functionaries. It is a question of the regime, of the course, of the attitude of the rulers towards the ruled. 
At a secret and select regional member ship meeting where Yakovlev, the regional secretary, delivered a 



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factional report against the Opposition, a working woman took the floor and said substantially the 
following: "I agree with everything that was said here. It is necessary to make short shrift of the 
Opposition, but the whole trouble is that when a man who happens to be dressed a little cleaner, comes to 
the Regional Committee, he is immediately directed where he needs go; but when a working woman 
comes, some what more drab and dirty, she has to wait a long time in the hall-way." That was said by a 
working woman, a member of the Regional Committee. Such voices are to be heard more and more 
often. They signify not only that the number of bureaucrats has increased, but also the fact that the ruling 
circles are becoming more and more fused with the upper layers of the Soviet-Nep society; and that two 
floors are being created, two forms of life, two kinds of habits, or, to use the more fully expressive 
words, element: are being created of dual power in daily life which upon further development may 
become transformed into political dual power. Now, political dual power would already constitute a 
direct threat to the dictatorship of the proletariat. An enormous layer of the urban party-Soviet personnel 
leads the lives of functionaries until 8 P.M.; after three o'clock, they live like men-about-town, taking the 
attitude of liberals toward the Central Committee, while on Wednesdays, after six o'clock, they condemn 
the Opposition for being men of little faith. This type of party member bears a considerable resemblance 
to the Czarist functionary who used to profess privately the theory of Darwin, and who, when the need 
arose, presented credentials of holy communion. 

Comrade Ordjonikidze has proposed to us that we aid him in the struggle against bureaucratism. Why 
then does he remove Oppositionists from their posts? I maintain that the overwhelming majority of 
Oppositionists are removed not for performing their work badly or for failing to work in keeping with the 
directives of the C.E.C., but as punishment for their convictions. They are removed as Oppositionists. 
They are removed as punishment for so-called "Trotskyism." 

I should like to avail myself of at least a single opportunity to express myself briefly on the subject of 
Trotskyism, i.e., the lie that has been passing under the guise of my political biography, especially from 
the lips and pen of Yaroslavsky, who is present here in the capacity of a judge, and others like himself. I 
have stated more than once, as is well known to all old party members, that on many most import ant 
questions I at one time fought against Lenin and the Bolshevik party, but I was not a Menshevik. If by 
Menshevism is understood a political class line-and that is the only way to understand it-then I was never 
a Menshevik. I broke organizationally and politically with what was to become Menshevism in the 
middle of 1904, i.e., from the moment when it began to take shape as a political tendency. I broke on the 
question of the attitude towards the liberal bourgeoisie,I55] with the publication of Vera Zasulich's article, 
and the article by Axelrod in which he presented his plan of supporting the Zemstvo [Provincial and 
county council elected by a limited franchise and hay ing only economic and cultural functions] liberals, 
etc. On the question of the role of the classes in the revolution I was never in agreement with 
Menshevism. And this was the fundamental question. All the Yaroslavskys are duping the party and the 
International not only with respect to the last ten years, but also with respect to the more distant past 
when I stood outside both of the main factions of the then social democracy. 

In May 1905, the Bolshevik Congress adopted a resolution on the question of the armed insurrection and 
the Provisional Government. At the Congress comrade Krassin introduced a major amendment, which 
was, in reality, a separate resolution, which was referred to by Lenin at the Congress in the most 
laudatory manner. [5 61 This resolution presented by Krassin was written entirely by me in Petrograd-I 
have proof of this, namely, a note written by Krassin to me during one of the sessions. The most 
important resolution of the first Congress of the Bolshevik Party on the question of the armed 



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insurrection and the Provisional Government, contained the central portion — consult the protocols — that 
was written by me, and I am proud of it. Have any of my critics perhaps something similar to list among 
their assets? 

In 1905, a whole number of proclamations issued in Baku in the underground Bolshevik printshop were 
written by me: the one to the peasants on the occasion of January 9; another on the Czarist agrarian laws, 
and so on. In 1905, in November, Novaya Zhizn, under the editorship of Lenin, solidarized itself with my 
articles in NachaloI57] on the nature of our revolution. And I was expounding in them the so-called 
theory of the permanent revolution. 

ORDJONIKIDZE: Nevertheless you happened to be with Nachalo and not Novaya Zhizn. Isn't that so? 

TROTSKY: But you have apparently forgotten that at that time the Bolshevik C.E.C. headed by Lenin 
unanimously adopted a resolution in favor of unity between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Within a 
few weeks, Nachalo was merged with Novaya Zhizn, and the latter wrote in warm praise of my articles 
on more than one occasion. This was the period of the tendency toward unification. Ynuhide the fact that 
I worked hand in hand with the Bolsheviks in the 1905 Soviet. You hide the fact that in 1906 Lenin 
published in Novaya Volna my pamphlet "Our Tactics" which defined our attitude toward the peasantry 
in the revolution. You hide the fact that at the London Congress in 1907, Lenin referred favor ably to my 
attitude towards the bourgeoisie and the peasantry. [5 81 1 maintain that my differences with Bolshevism 
were never greater than those of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht upon those questions on which 
they also differed from Bolshevism. Let anyone dare assert that they were Mensheviks! 

I was not a Bolshevik at that time. But I was never guilty of such monstrous blunders as the preservation 
of the Anglo-Russian Committee, or the subordination of the Chinese Communist Party to the 
Kuomintang. 

KRYVOY: What about the Vienna platform? 

TROTSKY: Are you referring to the bloc[591 in August 1912? 

KAYVOV: Yes. 

TROTSKY: That was the fruit of conciliationism. I had not yet lost hope at the time of the possibility of 
uniting the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. But let not Ordjonikidze, Yaroslavsky and the others forget 
that they themselves participated in 1917-not in 1912, mind you, but in 1917-in joint organizations with 
the Mensheviks. The Vienna Conference was one of the attempts at conciliationism. It was not at all my 
intention to make a bloc with the Mensheviks against the Bolsheviks. I still had hopes of reconciling the 
Bolsheviks with the Mensheviks, and sought to unite them. In this as in all other instances, Lenin refused 
to have anything to do with such an artificial unification. As a result of conciliationist policies, I found 
myself formally in a bloc with the Mensheviks. But the struggle between us flared up instantly, almost on 
the very next day; and the outbreak of the war found us irreconcilable opponents. Incidentally, Stalin, 
throughout this period, was himself rather a vulgar conciliationist and, moreover, during the most acute 
moments. In 1911, Stalin wrote concerning the struggle between Lenin and Martov that it was "a tempest 
in a teapot." This was written by a member of the Bolshevik party. In March 1917, Stalin was in favor of 
unity with Tseretelli. In 1926, Stalin was in favor of a bloc with Purcell, Chiang Kai-shek and Wang 
Ching-wei. My mistakes are trifling indeed when compared with these mistakes. My activity from 1914 
to 1917, i.e., during the war, is being distorted ruthlessly, after the easy manner of that simon-pure social 



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democrat Kuusinen, and especially by those gentlemen who were either patriots or followers of Kautsky 
at the time. Let me remind you that at the beginning of the war I wrote a pamphlet entitled IV ar and the 
International concerning which Zinoviev-who was not and could not have been favorably disposed 
toward me-wrote that it posed the question correctly on all fundamental issues. 

SHKLOVSKY: That was in 1914! 

TROTSKY: Very true, that was in 1914. This pamphlet became a weapon in the hands of extreme Left 
wingers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I was a revolutionary internationalist, even though I was 
not a Bolshevik. In France, I collaborated with a group of comrades, socialists and syndicalists, who later 
joined the Communist International, and who were among its founders. I was deported from France asa 
revolutionary internationalist. I was deported from Spain as a revolutionary internationalist. In New 
York, I worked on the editorial board ofNovy Mir, together with Volodarsky and Bukharin. In February 
and March 1917, 1 wrote articles in Novy Mir which were written in the same spirit as Lenin's Geneva 
articles, at a time when Stalin came out in Pravda as a semi-Menshevik and semi defensist. In a Canadian 
concentration camp at Amherst, I organized the German sailors who were followers of Liebknecht, and 
who later fought on the side of the Spartacists. 

ORDJONSKSDZE: You have four minutes left, comrade Trotsky. 

TROTSKY: I have not yet touched on the answer to the fundamental question that you posed in 
reference to the "decline" of our revolution. 

ORDJONIKIDZE: Why did you dwell so long on your biography? 

TROTSKY: I think that an accused man has a right to speak of his biography, and it is not within the 
province of a chairman to restrict him on such occasions. At any rate, I was not the one who first brought 
up the question of my biography. Nothing was further from my mind. There are enough questions as it is. 
But it is precisely the Stalinist faction that has substituted the question of my biography for all political 
questions. And I reply to fictions with irrefutable facts. I appeal to the Presidium to grant me 15 minutes 
in order to reply on the question of the destiny of our revolution. 

ORDJONSKIDRE: You will speak the remaining four minutes, and then we shall take up the question of 
extending your time. Trotsky Ordjonikidze upbraided me for drawing an analogy with the Great French 
Revolution. One must not talk, you see, of prisons, guillotines and the perspectives of decline, etc. It is a 
superstition that harm can come from words. Harm can come from facts, from actions, from false policy. 
I must say, however, that the question itself was not raised on my initiative at all. I made reference to 
Soltz's words. They motivated me to pose the question of the different stages of the revolution, its waves 
of rise and fall, either temporary or final. 

Temporary or final — herein is the crux of the question, comrade Ordjonikidze. Before dwelling on this 
question, I must state that in all the nuclei preparations are being made at the present time to draw further 
and further conclusions —preparations for precisely that line which you, comrade Ordjonikidze, so lightly 
and bureaucratically dismiss, namely, the path of expulsions and repressions. Yes, I repeat, you do so 
lightly and bureaucratically, shutting your eyes to what is taking place in the party and above the party. 
In all nuclei, the reporters, especially rehearsed beforehand, pose the question of the Opposition in such a 
manner as makes some worker rise — most often on instructions — and say: "Why are you bothering with 
them? Is it not high time to shoot them?" Then the reporter, with a hypocritically mild mien, objects, 
"Comrades, there is no need to be hasty." This has already become a routine in the party. The question is 

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always being posed behind the backs of the Oppositionists, with insinuations, with filthy implications, 
with rude, dishonest and purely Stalinist distortions of the Opposition's platform and of the revolutionary 
biographies of the Oppositionists, who are being pictured as the enemies of the revolution, as the enemies 
of the party — all this in order to arouse a wild reaction on the part of the duped audience, on the part of 
the raw young party members with whom you are artificially loading the party ranks; so that you will 
later have the opportunity to say, "Now look! We are ready to be patient, but the masses are insisting." 
This is the specific strategy of Stalin, you yourselves are to a greater or lesser degree the organizers of 
this campaign, and when the backwash engulfs you, you say, "The party demands it, and I can do nothing 
about it. . . . 

The second rebuke launched by comrade Ordjonikidze against me is a political rebuke of a more general 
nature. He says that my comparison with the Great French Revolution precisely expresses my 
"pessimism." Trotsky, you see, thinks the revolution has perished. If I thought the revolution had 
perished, why should I struggle against you? On this issue you are never consistent. If I do not believe in 
the construction of socialism, as you assert, why should I propose to "plunder the peasant" as you 
likewise assert? Is it perhaps out of my personal hostility toward the peasant? If I do not believe in the 
revolution, why should I engage in a struggle? It would then be best to swim with the tide. Please, try to 
understand this! Whoever thinks that the revolution has already perished anyway, would not engage in a 
struggle. Comrades, you have once again failed to put two and two together. 

The October Revolution has not perished. I never said it has. I do not believe it has. But I did say that it is 
possible to ruin the October Revolution, if one really undertakes to do so-and that you have already 
accomplished a few things to that end. Your entire thinking on this question, comrade Ordjonikidze, is 
not dialectical but formal. You ignore the question of the conflict of living forces, the question of the 
party. Your thinking is utterly permeated with fatalism. You differentiate between optimism and 
pessimism as if they were two immutable categories independent of conditions and politics. According to 
your way of thinking, one can be only either an "optimist" or a "pessimist," i.e., either think that the 
revolution has completely perished or that it will not perish under any circumstances no matter what we 
did. The 

one and the other are false. Has not the revolution already passed through a number of ups and downs? 
Didn't we have a stupendous upswing in the period of the October overturn, and didn't we hang 
suspended by a hair in the period of the Brest-Litovsk peace? Recall to your minds what Lenin said 
during the struggle against the Left Communists ~ that it is extremely difficult to control the automobile 
of power in the epoch of revolution, because it is necessary to keep making sharp turns all the time. 
Brest-Litovsk was a retreat. The N.E.P., after the Kronstadt uprising, was a retreat. And did not each 
wave of retreat engender in its turn opportunist moods? It is clear as noonday that when these movements 
of retreat and of downward swings in the revolution are pro- longed for a year, or two and three years, 
they engender a more profound drop in the moods of the masses and of the party as well. Comrade 
Ordjonikidze, you are a native Caucasian and you know that a road that leads up the mountain, does not 
go straight upward, but winds and zigzags, and often after a steep rise, it is necessary to descend two or 
three versts [A Russian measure, app. 2/3 of a mile.] in order then to resume the upward march — but the 
road itself leads nevertheless up the mountain. While making a partial downward descent, I must keep 
aware that the road will turn and again mount upwards. But if I, for the sake of "optimism," altogether 
ignore these upward and downward zigzags, then my wagon will fly off into the abyss on one of the 
turns. I say that at the present time your road leads to the right and downwards. The danger lies in the 
fact that you do not see this, i.e., that you shut your eyes to it. And it is dangerous to ride up the mountain 



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with one's eyes shut. 

In the autumn of 1923, we had a stupendous upsurge in the party, parallel with the lift in the German 
revolution. But after its defeat we, too, suffered an ebb-tide. Out of this ebb-tide grew the Stalinist theory 
of socialism in one country, a theory of decline, which is in radical contradiction with the fundamentals 
of Marxism. In 1926, during the Chinese Revolution, simultaneously with the improvement of our inter 
national situation, there was a powerful upward surge. Then followed an intensified ebb-tide — after the 
defeat of the Chinese Revolution. One must take the curve of the historical movement in all of its 
concreteness. From 1923 on, we have had a series of major defeats. Only a miserable coward would lose 
heart because of that. But he is blind, and a dullard and a bureaucrat, who cannot differentiate between 
the right foot and the left, between the upsurge of the revolution and its ebb. When I had a discussion 
with Brandler in January 1924, after the defeat, he said to me, "In the autumn of 1923, 1 was not in 
agreement with you because you were over-optimistic; now you are too pessimistic and I am again in 
disagreement with you." I replied, "Comrade Brandler, I fear that you will never make a revolutionist, 
because you cannot distinguish between the face of the revolution and its other extremity." 

Comrade Ordjonikidze approaches the question of the victory or defeat of the revolution independently 
of any connection with the dialectic process, i.e., independently of the mutual interaction between our 
policies and the objective conditions. He poses the question in the following manner: either the inevitable 
victory of the revolution or its inevitable defeat. Now, I say: If we proceed to make real and thorough 
mistakes, then we can doom the revolution. But if we apply all our forces to rectify a false line, then we 
shall triumph. But to assert that no matter what we may do — either in relation to the kulak, in relation to 
the Anglo-Russian Committee, or in relation to the Chinese Revolution — it can do no harm to the 
revolution; that the revolution must triumph "anywny"-is to reason in the manner that only indifferent 
bureaucrats are capable of doing. And so far as they are concerned, it is precisely they who are capable of 
ruining the revolution. 

Wherein does our revolution differ from the French? 

In the first place, with respect to the economic and class foundation of the respective epochs. In France, 
the leading role was played by the lower sections of the urban petty bourgeoisie. In our country-by the 
proletariat. It was owing to this alone that the bourgeois revolution could grow over into a socialist 
revolution in our country, and develop as such- with great obstacles and dangers remaining as yet. This is 
the first point of difference. 

The second point of difference: France was surrounded by feudal countries-more backward in the 
economic and cultural sense than France herself. We, on the other hand, are surrounded by capitalist 
countries more advanced than we are with respect to technology and industry, and with a more powerful 
and cultured proletariat. We may expect revolutions in these countries in a comparatively near future. In 
consequence, the international position of our revolution, despite the fact that imperialism is mortally 
hostile to us, is in a wide historical sense far more favorable to us than was the case in France toward the 
end of the 18th century. 

Finally, the third point of difference. We live in the epoch of imperialism, in the epoch of the greatest 
international and internal upheavals-and this creates the great rising revolutionary curve upon which our 
policies are based. But it is impermissible to think that this "curve" will carry us through under any and 
all conditions. This is false! He understands nothing who believes that we can build socialism even in the 
event capitalism is able to crush the proletariat for several decades to come. This is not optimism but the 

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Stupidity of national-reformism. We can be victorious only as an integral section of the world revolution. 
We must hold on until the world revolution, even if the latter is deferred for a number of years. In this 
respect, the trend of our policy is of decisive importance. By means of a correct revolutionary course, we 
shall intrench ourselves for a number of years, we shall intrench the Communist International, move 
ahead along the socialist path and achieve our being taken in tow by the great historical tugboat of the 
international revolution. 

Our present party course is the main danger. It stifles the revolutionary power of resistance. What does 
your course consist of? You put your stake on the strong peasant and not on the agricultural laborer and 
the poor peasant. You steer toward the bureaucrat and the functionary and not the masses. You place far 
too much faith in the apparatus. In the apparatus you have tremendous internal support for each other, 
and mutual insurance for yourselves - that is why Ordjonikidze is unable to succeed even in reducing the 
staffs. Independence from the masses creates the system of mutual concealment and shielding. And all 
this is considered as the main prop of power. In the party, reliance is now placed on the secretary and not 
on the rank and file member. You rely now on Purcell and not on the rank and file proletarian. You rely 
not on the revolutionary miner but on Purcell who has betrayed the miners. In China, you steer a course 
toward Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei and not toward the Shanghai proletarian, not the coolie 
who drags cannon on his shoulder, and not the insurgent peasant. 

You have placed on the order of the day the question of expelling us from the Central Committee. 
Assuredly, each one of us will carry out his work regardless of his position, as a rank and file party 
member. But this will not solve the question; you will have to draw further conclusions. Life itself will 
compel you to make these conclusions. You had better pause instead and change your course. 



NOTES: 

48. The Central Control Commission is a body, formally distinct from the Central Committee, which 
presides over the morals and the discipline of the party membership. It is, in theory, sup posed to be 
made up of the most authoritative and unimpeachable party members, so that their decisions shall not be 
influenced by factional or other extraneous considerations. In Stalin's period, the C.C.C. was converted 
into a mere factional instrument for the punishment and expulsion of any political opponent or critic 
indicated by the bureaucracy. [BACK TO TEXT1 

49. The incident at the railway station refers to the gathering of political and personal friends to bid 
farewell to I. T. Smilga who was being deported from Moscow on the pretext of being sent to do party 
work in the provinces - an action in direct violation of the party rules, adopted as early as the Tenth 
Congress on Lenin's motion, providing against the shifting of members for party work on the grounds of 
their political views. Zinoviev's speech over the radio was on the occasion of the anniversary of the 
central party organ, Pravda; he was charged with having spoken about inner-party affairs to an audience 
containing non- party members-at a time when the public press was filled with column upon column of 
the most violent and slanderous attacks upon the Oppositionists every single day. As for Trotsky's 
"breach of discipline," he had been condemned by the Stalinist press more than a year before for having 
failed to appeal his case to the international tribunal, namely, to the Communist Inter national, which is, 
in theory, a superior body to any committee or assembly of the Russian party, which is only one of its 
national sections. Trotsky and Vuyovich, as members of the Executive Committee of the Communist 
International, did exercise their rights as members to appear before the Eighth Plenum of the E. C.C.I, in 

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May, 1927, to present their point of view on the Anglo-Russian Committee, the Chinese Revolution, and 
the situa tion in the Soviet Union. For having done so, they were removed from the E.C.C.L in violation 
of its statutes. [BACK TO TEXT] 

50. By the time Trotsky was delivering this speech, it was p05 sible to draw a complete balance sheet of 
the Anglo-Russian Trade Union Unity Committee, which was dissolved by the with drawal of the British 
trade union leaders sometime in May, 1927, after they had squeezed out of it every possible political 
advan tage to themselves. See also. Note 82. [BACK TO TEXT1 

51. The Black Hundreds was the name given to the arch-reactionary and monarchistic "Union of the 
Russian People" which ter rorized revolutionists and instigated anti-Semitic pogroms under the rule of 
the Czar. [BACK TO TEXT] 

52. The "Declaration of 88" was handed to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet 
Union on May 26, 1927 by G. Yevdokimov, G. Zinoviev, L T. Smilga and L. Trotsky in the name of 88 
old revolutionists. The declaration was a summary of the Opposition's point of view on the decisive 
questions in dis pute in the Soviet Party. Among its signers, the year of whose adherence to the party is 
given in parentheses, were: Beloborodov (1907), Visnevskaya (1905), Vuyovich (1912), Vassiliev 
(1904), Vardin (1907), A. Gertek (1902), N. Gordon (1903), Yemelianov (1899), Yevdokimov (1903), 
Shuk (1904), Zinoviev (1899), Zaks-Gladnev (1906), Kuklin (1903), Kavtaradze (1903), Lizdin (1892), 
Muralov (1908), Ostrovskaya (1905), Piatakov (1910), Radek (1902), Serebriakov (1905), L N. Smir nov 
(1899), Samsonov (1903), Sosnovsky (1903), Ter-Vagan yan (1912), Kharitonov (1905), Sharov (1904), 
Tsibulsky (1904), Eltsin (1898). The declaration was speedily signed by several hundred names. [BACK 
TO TEXT1 

53. It is to be found in the Jahrbachfur Sozialwissenchaft und Sozialpolitik, published by Dr. Ludwig 
Richter, Zurich, 1879, pp. 54-75 and is entitled "Der Isolirte Sozialistisehe Staat" von G. V[ollmar]. In 
setting forth his view, Vollmar, prominent spokesman for the Right wing of the German social 
democracy in his time, wrote: 'T believe-and shall seek to demonstrate it in the following pages-that the 
final victory of socialism is not only historically more likely primarily in a single state, but that nothing 
stands in the road of the existence and prosperity of the isolated socialist state." (P. 55) [BACK TO TEXT] 

54. The "Thermidorian chapter" of the French Revolution opened up on the 9th of Thermidor (July 27, 
1794) when the counter revolution effected its dramatic coup by the execution of the rev — lutionary 
Jacobins, Robespierre, Saint- Just, Couthon, Lebas and others. The term is applied by Trotsky to 
conditions socially analogous in the Russian Revolution, meaning the growth of social, economic and 
political reaction occurring under the old structural forms and banners. [BACK TO TEXT] 

55. The Menshevik attitude towards the "liberals," that is, the "progressive bourgeoisie," was 
fundamentally different from the attitude of the Bolsheviks, or of Trotsky. The Mensheviks saw the basic 
problem of the coming revolution in Russia as that of the alliance of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie 
against feudalism and for the establishment of a democratic, parliamentary bourgeois republic, in which 
the working class and its party would constitute the Left wing, in approximately the same way as the 
socialist parties of France, England and Germany func tioned in' their bourgeois republics or parliaments. 
The Bolsheviks saw the. problem as one of an alliance of the proletariat with the peasantry against the 
industrial bourgeoisie, for the establish ment of a "democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peas 
antry." Trotsky saw the problem of the alliance in exactly the same way as the Bolsheviks, but differed 



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from the latter in his insistence upon a more precise formulation of the nature of the future revolution, 
arguing that the proletariat once having come to power, in alliance with the rural masses, would be 
unable to halt at the "democratic" stage and would have to continue to the "socialist stage," i.e., would 
make the revolution permanent. [BACK TO TEXT] 

56. In defending his (that is, Trotsky's) amendment, Krassin said at the third congress of the Bolsheviks: 
"As regards the resolu tion of Comrade Lenin, I see its weak point in its failure to stress the question of 
the provisional government, and to indicate with sufficient clarity the connection between provisional 
government and armed uprising. As a matter of fact, the provisional gov ernment is established by the 
popular uprising as its own organ. 

I further find in the resolution the incorrect opinion that the provisional revolutionary government will 
appear only after the final victory of the armed uprising and after the overthrow of autocracy. No-it arises 
in the very process of the uprising and takes the most active part in the conduct of the uprising, insuring 
the latter's victory by its organized action. It is naive to think that the social democracy will be able to 
take part in the provi sional revolutionary government the moment the autocracy is completely 
overthrown; when the chestnuts have been removed from the fire by other hands than ours, nobody will 
ever dream of sharing them with us." In dealing with Krassin's remarks, Lenin said: "Taking it by and 
large, I subscribe to the opinion of Comrade Krassin. It is natural that as a literary man, I should 
concentrate my attention on the literary shaping of the question. The importance of the object of the 
struggle is pointed out by Comrade Krassin very exactly, and I wholly subscribe to his view. One cannot 
engage in a struggle without expecting to cap ture the position for which one is fighting." Commenting 
on the episode twenty-four years later, Trotsky wrote: "The resolution was correspondingly amended. It 
may not be superfluous to remark that during the polemics of the last few years, the reso lution of the 
Third Congress on the question of provisional gov ernment has been quoted hun-^reds of times as 
something opposed to Trotskyism.' The 'Red Professors' of the Stalin school have not the ghost of an 
idea that they are quoting against me, as an example of Leninism, the very lines that I wrote myself." (My 
Life, New York, 1930, p. 173.) [BACK TO TEXT] 

57. In reply to an article in the bourgeois liberal journal, Nasha Zhizn [Our Life], which sought to 
contrast the "reasonable" views of Lenin to the "permanent revolution" of Trotsky, the Bolshevik organ, 
Novaya Zhizn [New Life] replied, on Novem ber 27, 1905: "This gratuitous report is of course sheer 
nonsense. Comrade Trotsky said that the proletarian revolution, without standing still at the first stage, by 
pressing hard upon the ex ploiters, can continue on its road, while Lenin pointed out that the political 
revolution is only the first step. The publicist of Nasha Zhizn would like to perceive a contradiction there. 

The whole misunderstanding comes, first, from the fear with which the name alone of the social 
revolution fills Nasha Zhizn, secondly, out of the desire of this paper to discover some sort of sharp and 
piquant difference of opinion among the social demo crats and, thirdly, in the metaphorical expression of 
Comrade Trotsky: 'at one fell swoop.' In No. 10 of Nachalo [The Beginning], Comrade Trotsky explains 
his ideas quite unequivocally: 

'The complete victory of the revolution signifies the victory of the proletariat,' writes Comrade Trotsky. 
'But this victory in turn signifies the further uninterruptedness of the revolution. The proletariat realizes 
the fundamental tasks of democracy and the logic of its immediate struggle for the safeguarding of politi 
cal domination causes purely socialist problems to arise at the given moment. Between the minimum and 



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the maximum program of the social democracy, a revolutionary continuity is established. This is not one 
"blow," it is not one day and not a month, it is a whole historical epoch. It would be absurd to want to 
determine its duration in advance.' " [BACK TO TEXT1 

58. At the London Congress in 1907, Lenin said of Trotsky's pro grammatic speech: "I merely wish to 
observe that Trotsky, in his hook On the Defense of the Party emphatically expressed his solidarity with 
Kautsky, who wrote of the economic community of interests of the proletariat and the peasantry in the 
present revolution in Russia. Trotsky recognized the admissibility and expediency of a Left bloc [with 
the peasants] against the liberal bourgeoisie. These facts are enough for me to establish Trotsky's 
approach to our conception. Independent of the question of the 'uninterrupted revolution,' we have here 
before our eyes a soli darity in the fundamental points of the question concerning the relationship to the 
bourgeois parties." (Collected Works, Vol. VIII, p.400. Russ. ed.) [BACK TO TEXT] 

59. In the period of the upswing in the Russian labor movement, Trotsky sought to unify the various 
socialist groups and took the initiative to call a conference in Vienna of all the contending factions. It met 
in August, 1912, attended by various Menshevik representatives, Trotsky, and a number of Bolshevik 
conciliators. Largely because of Trotsky's irreconcilable political differences with the Mensheviks, the 
bloc formed in Vienna failed to hold together for any length of time. Looking back on the episode, 
Trotsky later wrote: "Among the Bolsheviks themselves, concil iatory tendencies were then still very 
strong, and I had hoped that this would induce Lenin also to take part in a general con ference. Lenin, 
however, came out with all his force against union. The entire course of the events that followed proved 
con clusively that Lenin was right." (My Life, p. 225.) [BACK TO TEXT] 



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Stalin School of Falsification -- Chapter 10 



Leon Trotsky's 

THE STALIN SCHOOL OF 
FALSIFICATION 

Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

The War Danger-The Defense Policy and the Opposition 

Speech At The Joint Plenary Session Of The Central Committee And The Central Control 
Commission 

(AUGUST 1, 1927) 

THE PRAESIDIUM of the Central Control Commission which met in June 1927 to take up the question 
of the expulsion of Trotsky and Zinoviev from the Central Executive Committee of the party failed to 
arrive at any decision. The question had not yet been given sufficient "preparation." The principal art of 
Stalinist strategy consists in cautiously apportioning the doses in which blows are dealt to the party. 
Throughout June and July a tireless hounding of the Opposition ensued. The question of the expulsion of 
Oppositionists from the highest bodies of the party was carried before the joint plenary session of the 
Central Committee and the Central Control Commission which convened at the end of July and the 
beginning of August. At this Plenum, the question of the war danger was deliberately interlaced with the 
question of the Opposition so as to envenom to the highest possible degree the subsequent struggle 
against the latter. However, even the joint Plenum was unable to decide upon the expulsion of Trotsky 
and Zinoviev from the Central Committee. The Stalin faction had to gain a few more weeks in order to 
develop its agitation against the Opposition as the "ally" of Chamberlain. 

We print below the speech delivered by the author of this book on August 1, 1927, on the subject of the 
war danger and the defense policy. 

^ ^ ^ 

TROTSKY: You have allotted me 45 minutes. I will summarize as concisely as possible in view of the 
very wide scope of the subject under consideration. Your theses assert that the Opposition allegedly 
holds some sort of Trotskyist formulation on the questions of war and defeatism. New fictions! 



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Paragraph 13 of your theses is entirely devoted to this twaddle. So far as the Opposition as a whole is 
concerned, it can in no way be held accountable for my former differences with Lenin, differences 
which, upon these questions, were altogether secondary in character. So far as I am personally 
concerned, I can make here a brief reply to the silly insinuations. Back in the time of the imperialist war, 
the appeals to the international proletariat- all of them dealing with war and the struggle against war-were 
written by me in the name of the first Council of People's Commissars and in the name of the Central 
Committee of the party. I wrote the war section of our party program, the main resolution of the Eighth 
Party Congress and the resolution of a number of Soviet Congresses, the manifesto of the First World 
Congress of the Comintern, a considerable portion of which is devoted to war, and the programmatic 
manifesto of the Second World Congress of the Comintern which devotes considerable space to the 
evaluation of war, its consequences and future perspectives. I wrote the theses of the Third World 
Congress of the Comintern on the question of the international situation and the perspectives of war and 
revolution. At the Fourth World Congress I was assigned by the C.C. of the party to give the report on 
the perspectives of the international revolution and war. At the Fifth World Congress (1924) I wrote the 
manifesto on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the imperialist war. There were no disputes 
whatever in the Central Committee over these documents, and they were adopted not only without any 
controversy, but virtually without any corrections. I ask: How is it that my "deviation" failed to manifest 
itself throughout my entire long and rather intensive activity in the Communist International? 

Now it suddenly appears, after my rejection of "economic defeatism" in 1926 — an absurd and illiterate 
slogan advanced by Molotov for the English workers - that I had presumably parted company with 
Leninism. Why then did Molotov hide his silly slogan in his back-pocket after my criticism of it? 

MOLOTOV: There was no slogan at all. 

TROTSKY: That's what I say. There was nonsense, but no slogan. That's just what I say. [Laughter.] 
Why then was it deemed necessary to exaggerate rudely old differences which, moreover, were 
liquidated long ago? For what purpose? For the purpose of covering up and camouflaging the actual 
palpable and current differences. Is it possible to pose seriously the question of a revolutionary struggle 
against war and of the genuine defense of the U.S.S.R. while at the same time orienting toward the 
Anglo-Russian Committee? Is it possible to orient the working class masses toward a general strike and 
an armed insurrection in the course of a war while simultaneously orienting towards a bloc with Purcell, 
Hicks and other traitors? I ask: Will our defensism be Bolshevik or trade unionist' That is the crux of the 
question! 

Let me first of all remind you of what the present leader- ship has taught the Moscow proletariat during 
the whole of the last year. Everything centers round this point. I read you the verbatim directives of the 
Moscow Committee: "The Anglo-Russian Committee can, must and undoubtedly will play a tremendous 
role in the struggle against all types of intervention directed at the U.S.S.R. It [the Anglo-Russian 
Committee!] will become the organizing center for the inter national forces of the proletariat in the 
struggle against all attempts of the international bourgeoisie to start a new war." 

Molotov has made here the remark that "through the Anglo-Russian Committee we disintegrated 
Amsterdam." It is as clear as noon-day that even now he has grasped nothing. We disintegrated the 
Moscow workers together with the workers of the entire world, deceiving them as to where their enemies 
were, and where their friends. 

SKRYPNIK: What a tone! 



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TROTSKY: The tone is suited to the seriousness of the question. You consolidated Amsterdam, and you 
weakened yourselves. The General Council is now more unanimously against us than ever before. 

It must he said, however, that the scandalous directive I just read expresses much more fully, clearly and 
honestly the actual standpoint of those who favored the preservation of the Anglo-Russian Committee 
than does the scholastic hocus-pocus of Bukharin. The Moscow Committee taught the Moscow workers 
and the Political Bureau taught the workers of the entire Soviet Union that in the event of a war danger 
our working class would he able to seize hold of the rope of the Anglo-Russian Committee. That is how 
the question stood politically. But this rope proved rotten. Saturday's issue ofPravda, in a leading article, 
speaks of the "united front of traitors" in the General Council. Even Arthur Cook, Tomsky's own beloved 
Benjamin, keeps silent. "An utterly incomprehensible silence!" cries Pravda. That is your eternal refrain: 
"This is utterly incomprehensible!" First you staked everything on the group of Chiang Kai-shek; I mean 
to say Purcell and Hicks, and then you pinned your hopes on "loyal" Wang Ching-wei, that is, Arthur 
Cook. But Cook betrayed even as Wang Ching-wei betrayed two days after he had been enrolled by 
Bukharin among the loyal ones. You turned over the Minority Movement[601 bound hand and foot to the 
gentle men of the General Council. And in the Minority Movement itself you likewise refuse to 
counterpoise and are incapable of counterpoising genuine revolutionists to the oily reformists. You 
rejected a small but sturdier rope for a bigger and an utterly rotten one. In passing across a narrow and 
unreliable bridge, a small but reliable prop may prove one's salvation. But woe to him who clutches at a 
rotten prop that crumbles at a touch-for, in that case, a plunge into the abyss is inevitable. Your present 
policy is a policy of rotten props on an international scale. You successively clutched at Chiang 
Kai-shek, Feng Yu-hsiang, Tang Cheng-chih, Wang Ching-wei, Purcell, Hicks and Cook. Each of these 
ropes broke at the moment when it was most sorely needed. Thereupon, first you said, as does the 
leading article in Pravda in reference to Cook, "This is utterly incomprehensible!" in order to add on the 
very next day, "We always foresaw this." 

WHAT ABOUT CHINA? 

Let us take the entire tactical, or rather strategical line in China as a whole. The Kuomintang is the party 
of the liberal bourgeoisie in the period of revolution — the liberal bourgeoisie which draws behind it, 
deceives and betrays the workers and peasants. 

The Communist party, in accordance with your directives, remains throughout all the betrayals within the 
Kuomintang and submits to its bourgeois discipline. 

The Kuomintang as a whole enters into the Comintern and does not submit to its discipline, but merely 
utilizes the name and the authority of the Comintern to dupe the Chinese workers and peasants. 

The Kuomintang serves as a shield for the landlord-generals who hold in their grip the soldier-peasants. 

Moscow - at the end of last October - demands that the agrarian revolution be kept from developing so 
as not to scare away the landlords in command of the armies. The armies become mutual insurance 
societies for the landlords, large and small alike. 

The landlords do not raise any objection to their military expeditions being called national revolutionary, 
so long as the power and the land remain in their hands. The proletariat, which composes a young 
revolutionary force in no wise inferior to our own proletariat in 1905, is driven under the command of the 
Kuomintang. 

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Moscow offers counsel to the Chinese liberals: "Issue a law for the organization of a minjinum of 
workers' detachments." This, in March 1927! Why the counsel to the tops-Arm yourselves to the 
minimum? and why not a slogan to the rank and file — Arm yourselves to the maximum? Why the mini 
mum and not the maximum? In order not to "scare away" the bourgeoisie, so as not to "provoke" a civil 
war. But the civil war came inevitably, and proved far more cruel, catching the workers unarmed and 
drowning them in blood. 

Moscow came out against the building of Soviets in the "army's rear" — as if the revolution is the rump of 
an army in order not to disorganize the rear of the very same generals who two days later crushed the 
workers and peasants in their rear. 

Did we reinforce the bourgeoisie and the landlords by compelling the communists to submit to the 
Kuomintang and by covering the Kuomintang with the authority of the Comintern? Yes, we did. 

Did we weaken the peasantry by retarding the development of the agrarian revolution and of the Soviets? 
Yes, we did. 

Did we weaken the workers with the slogan of "minimum arming "-nay, not the slogan but the polite 
counsel to the bourgeois tops: "Minimum arming," and "No need for Soviets"? Yes, we did. Is it to be 
wondered at that we suffered a defeat, having done everything that could have made victory difficult? 

Voroshilov gave the most correct, conscientious and candid explanation for this entire policy. "The 
peasant revolution," he says, "might have interfered with the Northern Expedition of the generals." You 
put a brake on the revolution for the sake of a military expedition. That is exactly how Chiang Kai-shek 
viewed the matter. The development of the revolution might, you see, make an expedition difficult for a 
"national" general. But, after all, the revolution itself is indeed an actual and a real expedition of the 
oppressed against the oppressors. To help the expedition of the generals, you put a brake on the 
revolution and disorganized it. Thereby the expedition of the generals was turned into a spearhead not 
only against the workers and the peasants but also — precisely because of that — against the national 
revolution. 

Had we duly secured the complete independence of the Communist party, assisted it to arm itself with its 
press and with correct tactics; had we given it the slogans "Maximum arming of the workers!" "Extend 
the peasant war in the villages!" the Communist party would have grown, not from day to day, but from 
hour to hour, and its cadres would have been tempered in the fires of revolutionary struggle. The slogan 
of Soviets should have been raised from the very first days of the mass movement. Everywhere, 
wherever the slightest possibility existed, steps for the actual realization of Soviets should have been 
taken. Soldiers should have been drawn into the Soviets. The agrarian revolution would have 
disorganized the pseudo-revolutionary armies but it would have likewise transmitted the infection to the 
counter-revolutionary armies of the enemy. Only on this foundation could it have been possible to forge 
gradually a real revolutionary, i.e., workers' and peasants' army. 

Comrades! We have heard here a speech made not by Voroshilov, the People's Commissar for Army and 
Navy, but by Voroshilov, a member of the Political Bureau. This speech, I say, is in itself a catastrophe. 
It is equivalent to a lost battle. 

[Shouts from the Opposition benches: "Correct!"] 

TROTSKY: Last May, during the Plenum of the E.C.C.I., when after finally assigning Chiang Kai-shek 

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to the camp of reaction, you put your stakes on Wang Ching-wei, and then on Tang Cheng-chih, I wrote 
a letter to the E.C.C.L It was on May 28. "The shipwreck of this policy is absolutely inevitable." What 
did I propose? Here is literally what I wrote. On May 28, 1 wrote: "The Plenum would do the right thing 
if it buried Bukharin's resolution, and replaced it with a resolution of a few lines. In the first place, 
peasants and workers should place no faith in the leaders of the Left Kuomintang but they should, 
instead, build their Soviets jointly with the soldiers. In the second place, the Soviets should arm the 
workers and the advanced peasants. In the third place, the Communist party must assure its complete 
independence, create a daily press, and assume the leadership of creating the Soviets. Fourth, the land 
must be immediately taken away from the landlords. Fifth, the reactionary bureaucracy must be 
immediately dismissed. Sixth, perfidious generals and counter-revolutionists generally must be 
summarily dealt with. And finally, the general course must be towards the establishment of a 
revolutionary dictatorship through the Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies." Now, compare this 
with: "There is no need for a civil war in the villages," "Do not alarm the fellow travellers," "Do not 
irritate the generals," "Minimum arming of the workers," and so on. This is Bolshevism! While our 
position is called in the Political Bureau . . . Menshevism. Having turned yourselves inside out, you have 
firmly resolved to call white, black. But your misfortune is that international Menshevism-from Berlin to 
New York-approves of the Chinese policy of Stalin-Bukharin, and being fully cognizant of the issue, 
solidarizes with your political line on the Chinese question. 

Please try to understand that in question here is not the individual betrayals of the Chinese members of 
the Kuomintang, or of the Right and Left Chinese army commanders, or English trade unionists, and 
Chinese or English communists. When one rides in the train, it is the earth that appears to be in motion. 
The whole trouble lies in the fact that you placed hopes on those who were not to be relied upon; you 
under estimated the revolutionary training of the masses, the principal requirement for which is 
inoculating the masses with mistrust towards reformists, vague "Left" Centrists, and all vacillators in 
general. The fullest measure of this mistrust is the supreme virtue of Bolshevism. Young parties have still 
to acquire and assimilate this quality. Yet, you have acted and are acting in a diametrically opposite 
direction. You inoculate young parties with the hopes that the liberal bourgeoisie and the liberal labor 
politicians from the trade unions will move to the Left. You hinder the education of the English and 
Chinese Bolsheviks. That is the source whence come these "betrayals" which each time catch you 
unaware. 

ON "CENTRISM/' AND THE POLICY OF ROTTEN ROPES 

The Opposition warned that the Chinese Communist Party under your leadership would inevitably come 
to Menshevist policies — for which the Opposition was at the time mercilessly condemned. It is with 
certainty that we now warn you that the British Communist Party, under the influence of the policies that 
you are foisting on it, is becoming inevitably poisoned by Centrism and conciliationism. If you do not 
turn the helm sharply, the consequences with respect to the British Communist Party will not be any 
better than those with respect to the Chinese party. The same thing applies to the Comintern as a whole. 

It is high time to understand that the Centrism of Bukarin- Stalin is unable to withstand the test of events. 
The greatest events in the history of mankind are revolution and war. We have put the Centrist policy to 
the test on the Chinese Revolution. The revolution demanded decisive conclusions from vacillating 
directives. The Chinese Communist Party found itself compelled to draw these conclusions. That is why 
it has arrived - and it could not have failed to do so at Menshevism. The unprecedented collapse of your 
leader ship in China demands that you finally repudiate the policy which compelled you under the most 

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difficult conditions to clutch at rotten ropes. 

Next to the revolution the greatest historical test is war. We say beforehand: There will be no room 
during the events of war for the Stalinist and Bukharinist policy of zigzags, side-stepping and subterfuges 
— the policy of Centrism. This applies to the entire leadership of the Comintern. Today, the only test put 
to the leaders of the foreign communist parties is the question: Are you ready to vote night and day 
against "Trotskyism"? But war will confront them with far weightier demands. Meanwhile, the policy 
with respect to the Kuomintang and the Anglo-Russian Committee has obviously made them turn their 
eyes towards the Amsterdam and social-democratic tops. No matter how you squirm-the line of the 
Anglo-Russian Committee was the line of relying upon the rotten rope of the Amsterdam bureaucracy, 
whose worst section at the present time is the General Council. In the event of war you will have to 
stumble time and again over "surprises." The rotten ropes will fall apart in your hands. War will cause a 
sharp differentiation among the present tops of the Comintern. A certain section will go over to the 
Amsterdam position under the slogan: "We want to defend the U.S.S.R. seriously — we do not wish to be 
a handful of fanatics." Another section of the European communists-we firmly believe they will be in the 
majority — will stand on the position of Lenin, on the position of Liebknecht that we are defending. 
There will be no room for the intermediate position of Stalin. That is why, permit me to say this frankly, 
all this talk of a handful of Oppositionists, of generals with out an army, and so forth and so on, seem 
utterly ludicrous to us. The Bolsheviks have heard all this more than once both in 1914 and in 1917. We 
foresee tomorrow all too clearly, and we are preparing for it. Never before did the heart of the Opposition 
beat with such an immutable conviction of its correctness. Never before was there such unanimity as now 
prevails. 

ZINOVIEV and KAMANEV: Absolutely correct! [Zinoviev and Kameney, as is well known, did not hold out for 
long. - L.T.] 

TROTSKY: Nor will there be any room for the gradual Centrist back- sliding with respect to biaterVl 
policies under the conditions of war. All the controversies will congeal, the class contradictions will 
become aggravated, the issues will be posed point-blank. It will be necessary to give clear and precise 
answers. 

Which do we need during war-time: "Revolutionary Unity'' or ''Union sacr(e"? The bourgeoisie has 
devised for the period of war and war danger a special political condition under the name of "civil peace" 
or "Union sacr(e, " The meaning of this purely bourgeois concept is this, that the differences and 
squabbles of all bourgeois parties, including the social democracy, as well as internal disagreements 
within all parties must, you see, be silenced for the duration of the war-in the aim of the best possible 
befuddlement and deception of the masses. "Union sacr(e" is the highest form of the conspiracy of the 
rulers against the ruled. Needless to say, if our party has nothing to hide in the political sense from the 
working class during peace-time, then this is all the more true during war-time when the purity and 
clarity of the political line, the profundity of the ties with the masses are life-and- death questions. That is 
why, under the incomparably greater centralization of our party, as compared with any bourgeois party, 
we permitted ourselves in the heat of the civil war to discuss in the sharpest possible way and to resolve 
in a democratic party way, all the fundamental questions of political leadership. This was the inevitable 
overhead expense by means of which the party worked out and reinforced a correct line, and fortified its 
revolutionary unity. There are ~ rather it would be more correct to say, only yesterday we still had ~ 
comrades who thought that after the death of Lenin, the absolute correctness of the leadership among us 
was assured to such an extent that it no longer required to be checked upon by the party. We, on the other 



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hand, think just the contrary: Today the leadership requires a check-up and a change more than ever 
before in the entire history of our party. What we need is not a hypocritical ''Union sacree" but honest 
revolutionary unity. 

The shilly-shallying Centrist policy cannot hold its own during wartime. It must turn either to the Right 
or to the Left, i.e., take either the Thermidorian road or the road of the Opposition. [Commotion in the 
hall.] 

Is victory in war possible on a Thermidorian path? Generally speaking, such a victory is not excluded. As 
the first step, repeal the monopoly of foreign trade. Give the kulak the opportunity of doubling the export 
and the import. Enable the kulak to squeeze the middle peasant. Compel the poor peasant to understand 
that without the kulak there is no other road. Raise and reinforce the importance of the bureaucracy, of 
the administration. Cast aside the demands of the workers as so much "guildism." Restrict the workers 
politically in the Soviets, reestablish last year's election decree and gradually extend it in favor of the 
property owners. That would be the road of Thermidor. Its name is - capitalism on the installment plan. 
Then at the head of the army would stand the lower commanding staff of kulaks, and the high 
commanding staff of intellectuals and bourgeoisie. On this road victory would signify the acceleration of 
the switch to the bourgeois rails. 

Is victory possible on the revolutionary proletarian path? Yes, it is possible. Nor is that all. The entire 
world situation bespeaks the fact that victory is most assured in the event of war precisely on this path. 
But for that, we must first dispel the political twilight in which all cats appear to be gray. The kulak on 
the Right-is an enemy. The agricultural laborers and poor peasants on the Left-are friends. Through the 
poor peasant lies the road to the middle peasant. We must create a political environment which makes it 
impossible for the bourgeoisie and the bureaucracy to give free play to their elbows and to push the 
workers aside, while saying, "This is not the year 1918, my boy!" It is necessary that the working class 
itself be able to say: "In 1927, we are not only better fed, but politically we are greater masters of the 
state than in 1919." Along this road, victory is not only possible, but is most surely secured, for only on 
this road will we have the support of the lower classes among the people of Poland, Romania and the 
whole of Europe. 

Can the Stalinist Centrist course give victory? The course which vacillates between both camps, which 
promises first to comfort the kulak, to adopt his son and to cherish his grand son, and then irresolutely 
passes to the creation of the groups of poor peasants; which alters the electoral decrees from year to year, 
i.e., the Soviet constitution, first to the side of the kulak, and then against him, and then once again in his 
favor as was done in Northern Caucasus; which orients itself toward Chiang Kai-shek and Wang 
Ching-wei, Purcell and Cook, the perfidious tops, while confusing the rank and file- can this course give 
victory? This course has dictated to our Political Bureau the unbelievable decree of October 29, 1926, in 
relation to China which made it prohibitory to introduce the civil war into the Chinese village, which 
made it binding not to drive away the fellow travelers or the bourgeoisie, the landlords and the generals; 
or that other directive with the appeal to the liberal bourgeoisie to give the workers a mini mum ( ! ! !) of 
arms. This course irritates or dampens the ardor of some while it fails to win over the others; it loses the 
"friend" Wang Ching-wei and confuses the Communists. This course signifies constant clutching at 
rotten ropes. During peace-time such a course might persist for an indefinite period of time. Under the 
conditions of war and revolution, Centrism must turn the helm sharply either to the Right or to the Left. 
It is already splitting into a Right and a Left wing, both of which are incessantly growing at the expense 
of the center. This process will be inevitably speeded up; and the war, if it is thrust upon us, will invest 



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the process with a feverish character. The Stahnist Center will inevitably melt away. Under these 
conditions the Opposition will be needed by the party more than ever before, in order to aid the party in 
rectifying the line, and at the same time preventing the disruption of revolutionary unity, and preserving 
the party cadres, its basic capital, from being dismembered. Because the overwhelming majority of the 
genuinely Bolshevik proletarian cadres- with a correct policy, with a clear line, and under the compulsion 
of objective conditions- will be able to reconstitute the policies, and steer a firm revolutionary course, not 
out of fear, but from conviction. It is this, and this alone, that we are striving to achieve. The lie of 
conditional defensism, the lie of the two parties, and the most despicable lie of an uprising-these lies we 
fling back into the faces of the calumniators. 

[A voice from the Opposition benches: "Hear! Hear!"] 

TROTKY: But does not the criticism of the Opposition reflect upon the authority of the U.S.S.R. in the 
international labor movement? 

We would never think of even posing such a question. This very posing of the question of authority is 
worthy of the papal church, or feudal generals. The Catholic Church demands an unquestioning 
recognition of its authority on the part of the faithful. The revolutionist gives his support, while 
criticizing, and the more undeniable is his right to criticize, all the greater is his devotion in struggling for 
the creation and strengthening of that in which he is a direct participant. The criticism of the Stalinist 
mistakes may, of course, lower the "indisputable" and puffed-up Stalinist authority. But that is not the 
mainstay of the revolution and of the republic. Open criticism and actual correction of mistakes will give 
evidence to the entire international proletariat of the inner strength of the regime, which under the most 
adverse conditions is able to find internal guarantees for the assurance of the correct road. In this sense, 
the criticism of the Opposition, and the consequences already arising from it and which will arise to a 
greater degree on the morrow, in the last analysis, raises the authority of the October Revolution and 
strengthens it not with a blind but with a revolutionary trust of the international proletariat - and thereby 
raises our capacity for defense on an international scale. 

The draft resolution of the Political Bureau says: "The preparation for war against the U.S.S.R. signifies 
nothing else but the reproduction on an extended base of the class struggle between the imperialist 
bourgeoisie and the victorious proletariat." 

Is that correct? Absolutely correct. But the resolution goes on to add: "Everyone who, like the Opposition 
in our party, casts doubt on this character of the war, . . . etc." Does the Opposition cast doubt on this 
general class significance of the war? Nonsense! It does not. There is not even a hint of it. Only those can 
assert the contrary who have themselves become completely lost in a maze, and seek to entangle others. 
Does this mean, however, that the general class meaning, undeniable to all of us, should serve as a cover 
for any and every blunder, and backsliding? No, it does not mean this. It provides no such cover. If we 
take for granted a priori and forevermore that the given leadership is the only conceivable and born 
leadership, then every criticism of the incorrect leadership will appear as a denial of the defense of the 
socialist fatherland, and a call to an uprising. But such a position is a pure and simple denial of the party. 
According to you, in the event of war, the party will serve only for the purpose of defense. But how the 
defense should be carried out, will be told the party by somebody else. Or again, to put it more succinctly 
and plainly: Do we, the Opposition, cast any doubts on the defense of the socialist fatherland? Not in the 
slightest degree. It is our hope not only to participate in the defense, but to be able to teach others a few 
things. Do we cast doubts on Stalin's ability to sketch a correct line for the defense of the socialist father 



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land? We do so and, indeed, to the highest possible degree. 

In his recent article in Pravda, Stalin poses tht following question: "Is the Opposition really opposed to 
the victory of the U.S.S.R. in the coming battles with imperialism?" Allow me to repeat this: "Is the 
Opposition really opposed to the victory of the U.S.S.R. in the coming battles with imperialism?" We 
leave aside the brazen impudence of the question. We do not intend to dwell now on Lenin's carefully 
weighed characterization of Stalinist methods-of Stalin's rudeness and disloyalty. We will take the 
question as it has been posed, and give an answer to it. Only White Guards can be "opposed to the 
victory of the U.S.S.R. in the impending battles with imperialism." The Opposition is for the victory of 
the U.S.S.R.; it has proved this and will continue to prove this in action, in a manner inferior to none. But 
Stalin is not concerned with that. Stalin has essentially a different question in mind, which he does not 
dare express, namely, "Does the Opposition really think that the leadership of Stalin is incapable of 
assuring victory to the U.S.S.R.?" Yes, we think so. 

ZINOVIEV: Correct! 

TROTSKY: The Opposition thinks that the leadership of Stalin makes victory more difficult. 

MOLOTOV:And what about the party? 

TORTSKY: The party has been strangled by you. The Opposition thinks that the leadership of Stalin 
makes the victory more difficult. The Opposition insisted on that with regard to the Chinese Revolution. 
Its warnings have been con- firmed by events, to a frightful extent. It is necessary to effect a change in 
policy without waiting for a similar catastrophic test from within. Every Oppositionist, if he is a genuine 
Oppositionist and not a fraud, will assume in the event of war whatever post, at the front or behind the 
lines, that the party will intrust to him, and carry out his duty to the end. But not a single Oppositionist 
will renounce his right and his duty, on the eve of war, or during the war, to fight for the correction of the 
party's course-as has always been the case in our party — because therein lies the most impor tant 
condition for victory. To sum up. For the socialist fatherland? Yes! For the Stalinist course? No! 



NOTES: 

60. The Minority Movement was the Left wing of the British trade union movement, inspired and 
initiated by the communists, but enjoying the growing support of hundreds of thousands of 
non-communist trade union members. By the time the British trade union leaders were prepared to 
withdraw from the Anglo-Russian Trade Union Unity Committee, the backbone of the Minority 
Movement was broken and it continued to decline to the point of complete dissolution. [BACK TO TEXT1 



Return to Index Page — Next Chapter 




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Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

A Contribution to the Political Biography of Stalin 

EIGHT POST-LENINIST YEARSof struggle, eight years of struggle against Trotsky, eight years of the 
regime of the epigones - first the ''troika" [triumvirate], then the "semerka" [septemvirate] and, finally, 
"the one and only" ~ this entire highly important period of the downward sweep of the revolution, its 
ebbings on an international scale, and the decline in revolutionary theory, have brought us to a most 
crucial point. In the bureaucratic triumph of Stalin a great historical zone is summarized and, at the same 
time, the impending inevitability of the defeat of the bureaucracy is signalized. The attainment by the 
bureaucracy of its culmination is the harbinger of its crisis, which may prove far more rapid than was its 
growth and rise. The regime of national- socialism, together with its hero, is subject to the blows, not only 
of inner contradictions, but also of the international movement. The world crisis will impart to the latter a 
number of new impulsions. The proletarian vanguard will be unable, and will refuse to suffocate, in the 
vise of a Molotov leadership. The personal responsibility of Stalin is committed beyond evasion. Doubt 
and alarm have crept into the hearts of even those who are best schooled. But Stalin cannot give more 
than he has. The downfall in store for him may prove all the more precipitate, the more artificial the 
nature of his rise. 

In the following pages, we aim to provide certain materials for Stalin's political biography. Our materials 
are very incomplete. We have selected the most essential data from among our archives. But our archives 
still lack many essential and, it may be, most important materials and documents. From among the 
archives of the police department, which for decades intercepted and copied the letters of revolutionists, 
documents, etc., Stalin has been assiduously gathering during the past years those materials which would 
enable him, on the one hand, to keep a tight rein on his insufficiently reliable friends and to cast a 
shadow on his opponents, while, first and foremost, securing himself and his associates against the 
publication of any one of the excerpts or episodes which are injurious to the false "monolithism" of the 
artificially manufactured biographies. We do not possess these documents. In evaluating the materials 
published below, the reader should bear in mind the extreme incompleteness of our information. 

1. On December 23, 1925, the closest friends of Stalin published in the party newspaper Zarya Vostoka 
the following police report, dating hack to 1903: 

"According to the recent information received by me from our agents, Djugashvili [Stalin] was known in 
the organization under the nicknames S080 and Koba; since 1902, he has been active in the social 
democratic party organization first as a Menshevik, and then as a Bolshevik, as the propagandist and 
leader of the first [railway] region." 



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No refutations of this police report on Stalin made public by his partisans have appeared anywhere, so far 
as we know. It appears from the report that Stalin began his activities as a Menshevik. 

2. In 1905, Stalin was a member of the Bolsheviks and took an active part in the struggle. What were his 
views and actions in 1905? What were his views as to the character of the revolution and its 
perspectives? To our knowledge, there are no documents in circulation on this score. No articles, 
speeches or resolutions by Stalin have been reprinted. Why? Evidently because a republication of Stalin's 
articles or letters for that period could only damage his political biography. There is no other explanation 
for the stubborn oblivion that enshrouds the past of the "leader." 

3. In 1907, Stalin took part in the "expropriation" of the Tiflis bank. The Mensheviks, in the wake of 
bourgeois philistines, have expressed no little indignation at the "conspiratorial" methods of Bolshevism, 
and its "anarcho-Blanquism." We can have only one attitude toward this indignation, namely, contmpt. 
His participation in a bold, even if a partial, blow dealt to the enemy can only do honor to the 
revolutionary resoluteness of Stalin. One can only be astonished, however, as to why this fact has been 
deleted in a cowardly manner from alt the official biographies of Stalin? Was it done, perhaps, in the 
name of bureaucratic respectability? We venture to think not. The reasons are most probably political. 
For, while participation in an expropriation cannot in itself in any way compromise a revolutionist in the 
eyes of revolutionists, a false political evaluation of the then existing situation does compromise Stalin as 
a politician. Partial blows to the institutions of the enemy, including "treasuries," are compatible only 
with a mass offensive, i.e., the upsurge of the revolution. With the masses in retreat, partial, isolated and 
partisan blows inevitably degenerate into adventures and lead to the demoralization of the party. In 1907, 
the revolution was receding, and the expropriations degenerated into adventures. In any case, Stalin gave 
proof even in that period that he was incapable of distinguishing the ebb-tide from the flood-tide. He was 
to reveal this incapacity to orient himself politically on a broad scale more than once in the future 
(Esthonia, Bulgaria, Canton, the "Third Period"). 

4. From the time of the first revolution, Stalin led the life of a professional revolutionist. Jail, exiles, 
escapes. But for the entire period of reaction (1907-191 1) we do not find a single document containing 
Stalin's formulation of his own estimate of the situation and its perspectives. It is impossible for them not 
to have been preserved, even if only in the archives of the police department. Why have they not 
appeared in print? The reason is as clear as noonday: They are of such nature as renders it impossible to 
strengthen the silly characterization of theoretical and political infallibility that the apparatus is creating 
for Stalin, i.e., for itself. 

5. Only a single letter pertaining to that period has appeared through an oversight in the press-and it 
wholly confirms our hypothesis. 

On January 24, 1911, Stalin wrote from exile to his friends, and this letter, that had been intercepted by 
the police department, was reprinted on December 28, 1925, by the self-same editorial board of Zarya 
Vostoka, none too rational in its zeal. Here is what Stalin wrote: 

"We have of course heard from abroad of the 'tempest in a teapot' there; the blocs between 
Lenin-Plekhanov, on the one hand, and between Trotsky-Martov-Bogdanov, on the other. The attitude of 
the workers towards the first bloc is, so far as I know, favorable. But the workers are generally beginning 
to look with disdain on what's going on abroad: 

Let them climb the walls to their heart's content. So far as we ourselves are concerned, whoever holds 



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dear the interest of the movement, will keep on working, the rest will take care of itself. This, in my 
opinion, is for the best." 

This is not the place to dwell on how correctly Stalin had defined the composition of the blocs. That is 
not in question here. Lenin was waging a desperate struggle against the legalists, liquidators and 
opportunists, for the perspective of the second revolution. All the groupings abroad at that time were 
fundamentally determined by that struggle. But how did the Bolshevik, Stalin, evaluate these battles? 
Like the most inept empiricist: "A tempest in a teapot; let them climb the walls; keep on working, the rest 
will take care of itself." Stalin welcomes the mood of indifference to theory and the presumed superiority 
of myopic "practicals" over revolutionary theorists. "This, in my opinion is for the best," he writes with 
reference to those moods which were characteristic of the period of reaction and decline. Thus, in the per 
son of Stalin, the Bolshevik, we have not even political conciliationism - for, conciliationism was an 
ideological tendency, which attempted to create a principled platform — we have blind empiricism, 
verging on complete disregard of the principled problems of the revolution. 

It is not difficult to imagine the lashing the hapless editors of Zarya Vostoka received for the publication 
of this letter; and the measures that were taken on an "AU-Union scale" to prevent any further publication 
of such letters. 

6. In his report at the Seventh Plenum of the E. C.C.I. (1926), Stalin characterized the party's past in the 
following manner: 

If we take the history of our party from the moment of its inception in the shape of the Bolshevik group 
in 1903, and if we follow its subsequent stages down to our own day, then we can say without 
exaggeration that the history of our party is the history of the conflict of the contradictions within the 
party. There is not, and there cannot be a 'middle' line in questions of a principled character. . . 

These momentous words were directed against ideological "conciliationism" toward those against whom 
Stalin was waging his struggle. But these abstract formula of ideological irreconcilability are in complete 
contradiction with the political physiognomy and the political past of Stalin him self. As an empiricist he 
was a congenital conciliationist, but precisely because he was an empiricist he gave no principled 
expression to his conciliationism. 

7. In 1912, Stalin participated in Zvezda, the legal news paper of the Bolsheviks. The Petersburg editorial 
board, in a direct struggle against Lenin, issued this paper at first as a conciliationist organ. Here is what 
Stalin wrote in a programmatic editorial article: 

"...It will be a source of satisfaction to us, if our news paper succeeds, without falling into the polemical 
infatuation of the differ eut factions, in defending ably the spiritual treasures of consistent democracy 
which are being impudently encroached upon both by the open enemies and the false friends." (The 
Revolotion and the C.P.S.U. -Materials and Documents y Vol. V, pp. 161f.) 

The phrase referring to the "polemical infatuation of the different [ ! ] factions" is aimed entirely against 
Lenin, against Lenin's "tempest in a teapot," and his constant readiness to "climb the walls" due to some 
sort of "polemical infatuation." 

Thus, Stalin's article is completely in harmony with the vulgar conciliationist tendency expressed in his 
above-quoted letter of 1911, and is in complete contradiction with his latter-day declaration as to the 
impermissibility of a middle line in questions of a principled character. 

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8. One of Stalin's official biographies reads: "In 1918, he was once again exiled to Turukhansk, where he 
remained until 1917." The Stalin jubilee issue of Pravda similarly stated that "Stalin spent 
1918491-915-1916 in exile in Turukhansk" (Pravda, Dec.21, 1929). That is all! These were the years of 
the imperialist war, of Zimmerwald and Kienthal, of the collapse of the Second International, of the 
profoundest ideological struggle in the ranks of socialism. What part did Stalin take in this struggle? 
These four years of exile should have been the years of intense intellectual activity. The exiles, under 
such conditions, keep diaries, write treatises, elaborate theses, platforms, exchange polemical letters, etc. 
It is hardly conceivable that Stalin did not write anything during four years of exile on the basic problems 
of war, the International and the revolution. Yet one would seek in vain for any traces of Stalin's 
intellectual labors during those four amazing years. How could this have happened? It is all too obvious 
that had a single line been found in which Stalin had formulated the idea of defeatism or had proclaimed 
the need for a new International, this line would have long since been printed, photographed, translated 
into all languages, and endowed with learned commentaries by all the academies and institutes. But no 
such line was ever found. Does this mean that Stalin wrote nothing at all? No, it means nothing of the 
sort. That would he utterly improbable. But it does mean that among everything he had written during the 
four years there is nothing, literally nothing, that could be utilized today to reinforce his reputation. Thus, 
the years of the war, when the ideas and slogans of the Russian Revolution and of the Third International 
were being hammered out, prove to be only a void in the ideological biography of Stalin. It is very likely 
that during this time he said and wrote: "Let them climb the walls there, and busy themselves with 
stirring up a tempest in a teapot." 

9. Stalin arrived with Kamenev in Petrograd in the middle of March 1917. Pravda, under the editorship 
of Molotov and Shliapnikov, was vague and primitive, but, nevertheless, "Left" in character, antagonistic 
to the Provisional Government. Stalin and Kamenev removed the old editorial board, as being too far to 
the Left, and assumed an utterly opportunist position in the spirit of the Left Mensheviks: (a) sup port of 
the Provisional Government, "in so far as"; (b) military defense of the revolution (Le., the bourgeois 
republic) (c) unification with the Mensheviks of the Tseretelli type. The position of Pravda of that time is 
truly a scandalous page in the history of the party and in the biography of Stalin. His articles of March 
1917, which were the "revolutionary" conclusions of his deliberations in exile, wholly explain why from 
the works of Stalin pertaining to the epoch of war not a single line has appeared to this day. 

10. We reprint below Shliapnikov's account of the over turn effected by Stalin and Kamenev, who, at that 
time, were united on a common position: 

"The day of the first issue of the 'transformed' Pravda the 15th of March — was a day of rejoicing for the 
defensists. The whole Tauride Palace, from the jobbers in the State Duma Committee to the very heart of 
the revolutionary democracy, the Executive Committee of the Soviets, buzzed with a single piece of 
news: the victory of the moderate and reasonable Bolsheviks over the extremists. In the Executive 
Committee itself we were met with venomous smiles. This was the first and only occasion on which 
Pravda met with the approval of even the staunch defensists of the Lieber-Dan stripe. When this issue of 
Pravda reached the factories, it there aroused utter dismay among our party members and our 
sympathizers, and caustic gratification among our opponents. Inquiries poured into the Petersburg 
Committee, the Bureau of the C.C. and the editorial board of Pravda --W hat happened? Why has our 
newspaper renounced the Bolshevik line and taken the path of defensism? But the Petersburg Committee, 
as well as the entire organization, was caught unawares by this coap. There was general indignation and 
the Bureau of the C.C. was blamed for this incident. The indignation in the local districts was enormous. 



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and when the workers found out that PRAVDA had been seized by three former editors of 
PRAVDAarriving from Siberia^ they demanded their expulsion from the party'' [The third member was 
the former deputy, Muranov.] (Shhapnikov, The Year 1917, Bk. 2, 1925). 

We must add the following to the above: (a) Shliapnikov's account was altered and modulated in the 
extreme under the pressure of Stalin and Kamenev in 1925 (the "troika" was still in power at the time!) ; 
(b) no refutations of Shliapnikov's account appeared in the official press. Indeed, how could it have been 
refuted? The issues of Pravda for that period were then readily available. 

11. Stalin's attitude to the problem of revolutionary power was expressed by him in a speech made at a 
party Conference (the session of March 29, 1917). Said Stalin: 

"On the other hand, the government has in fact taken the role of fortifier of the conquests of the 
revolutionary people. The Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies mobilizes the forces, and exercises 
control, while the Provisional Government — balking and muddling, takes the of fortifier of those 
conquests of the people, which they have already seized as a fact. Such a situation has disadvantageous, 
but also advantageous sides. It is not to our advantage at present to force events, hastening the process of 
repelling the bourgeois layers, who will in the future inevitably withdraw from Stalin is afraid of 
"repelHng the bourgeoisie" — the principal argument of the Mensheviks from 1904 on. 

"In so far as the Provisional Government fortifies the steps of the revolution, to that extent we must 
support it; but, in so far as it is counter-revolutionary, support to the Provisional Government is not 
permissible." 

That is exactly what Dan said. After all, what other words can be used to defend a bourgeois government 
in the eyes of the revolutionary masses? 

Further, we read in the minutes: 

"Comrade Stalin reads the resolution on the Provisional Government adopted by the Bureau of the 
Central Commit tee, but states that be is not in complete agreement with it, and is rather in accord with 
the resolution of the Krasnoyarsk Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies." 

We quote the most important points of the Krasnoyarsk resolution: 

"To make entirely clear that the only source of the power and the authority of the Provisional 
Government is the will of the people who have accomplished this revolution, and to whom the 
Provisional Government is obliged wholly to submit. . . 

"To support the Provisional Government in its activities only in so far as it follows a course of satisfying 
the demands of the working class and the revolutionary peasantry in the revolution that is taking place." 

The reference here is to the Government of Prince Lvov Miliukov-Guchkov. 

Such was the position of Stalin on the question of power. 

12. We must particularly underscore the date of the above, namely, March 9, 1917. Thus, more than a 
month after the beginning of the revolution, Stalin still spoke of Miliukov as an ally: The Soviet 
conquers, the Provisional Government fortifies. It is hard to believe that these words could have been 
pronounced by a reporter to the Bolshevik Conference at the end of March 1917! Even Martov would not 



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have posed the question in this manner. This is the theory of Dan expressed in its most vulgar form: The 
democratic revolution viewed as an abstraction, within the framework of which function the more 
"moderate" and the more "resolute" forces, among whom there is a division of labor-the resolute 
conquer, the moderate fortify. Nevertheless, Stalin's speech was not accidental. We have in it the pattern 
of the entire Stalinist policy in China from 1924 to 1928. 

Lenin, who had managed to arrive in time for the last session of this same Conference, castigated the 
position of Stalin with an indignation that was impassioned despite all its restraint. 

"Even our Bolsheviks [he said] show confidence in the Govemment. That can be explained only by 
intoxication incidental to revolution. That is the death of socialism. You, comrades, place confidence in 
the government. If that's your position, our ways part. I prefer to remain in the minority. One Liebknecht 
is worth more than 110 defensists of his type of Steklov and Chkheidze. If you are in sympathy with 
Liebknecht and extend even a finger [to the defensists] ~ this will be a betrayal of international 
socialism." (The March 1917 Party Conference. Session of April 4. "Report by Comrade Lenin.") 

It should he borne in mind that Lenin's speech, as well as the protocols as a whole, have been kept hidden 
from the party to this day. 

18. How did Stalin pose the war question? In the same way as Kamenev. It is necessary to arouse the 
European workers, but in the meantime we must fulfill our duty towards the "revolution." But how 
arouse the European workers? Stalin's reply is contained in his article for March 17, 1917. 

We have already indicated one of the most serious methods of doing so. It consists in this, that we 
compel our own government to put itself on record not only against all plans of conquest . . . but also 
openly to formulate the will of the Russian people, immediately begin negotiations for universal peace on 
the basis of a complete renunciation of all conquests by both sides, and on the basis of the rights of all 
nations to self-determination." 

Thus, the "pacifism" of Miliukov-Guchkov was to have served as the means for arousing the European 
proletariat. 

On April 4, the day after his arrival, Lenin indignantly declared at the Party Conference: 

"Pravda demands from the Government that it renounce annexations. To demand from the government 
of the capitalists that it renounce annexations-Nonsense! Flagrant mockery of. . . "(The March 1917 
Party Conference. Session of April 4. "Report by comrade Lenin.") 

These words were directed wholly against Stalin. 

14. On March 14, the Menshevik-S.R. Soviet issued a manifesto on war to the toilers of all nations. The 
manifesto represented a hypocritical, pseudo-pacifist document in the spirit of the entire policy of the 
Mensheviks and the S.R.'s who were urging the workers of other countries to rise against their 
bourgeoisie, while they themselves remained yoked to the imperialists of Russia and of the whole 
Entente. How did Stalin evaluate this manifesto? 

"In the first place, it is indubitable that the bare slogan 'Down with War!' is absolutely worthless as a 
practical path. 

It is impermissible not to hail yesterday's manifesto of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies in 



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Petrograd to the peoples of the whole world, summoning them to compel their own governments to 
terminate the slaughter. This manifesto, if it reaches the broad masses, will undoubtedly recall hundreds 
and thousands of workers to the forgotten slogan: 

'Workers of the World, Unite!' , 

How did Lenin evaluate the manifesto of the defensists? In his April 4 speech, from which we have 
already quoted, he said: "The manifesto of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies 

there isn't a word in it imbued with class-consciousness. There is nothing to it but phrase-mongering." 
(The March 1917 Party Conference. Session of April 4. "Report by comrade Lenin.") 

These words are directed entirely against Stalin. That is why the protocols of the March Conference are 
kept hidden from the party. 

15. Since he was carrying through the policy of the Left Mensheviks in relation to the Provisional 
Government and the war, Stalin had no reason whatever for rejecting unification with the Mensheviks. 
Here is how he expressed himself on this question at the self-same March 1917 Conference. We quote 
the protocols verbatim: 

"Order of the da— Tseretelli's proposal for unification. 

"STALIN: We ought to go. It is necessary to define our proposals as to the terms of unification. 
Unification is possible along the lines of Zimmerwald-Kienthal." 

At this, even Molotov expressed his doubts; to be sure, not very articulately. Stalin replied in refutation: 

"There is no use running ahead and anticipating disagreements. There is no party life without 
disagreements. We will live down trivial disagreements within the party." (The March 1917 Party 
Conference. Session of April 1.) 

These few words speak louder than volumes. They serve to establish the thoughts upon which Stalin fed 
during the war years and they attest with juridical precision that Stalin's Zimmerwaldism was of the same 
brand as Tseretelli's Zimmerwaldism. Here, once again, there is not even a hint of that ideological 
irreconcilability, which was put on by Stalin as a false mask several years later, in the interests of the 
apparatus struggle. On the contrary, Menshevism and Bolshevism appear to Stalin at the end of March 
1917 as shades of thought that could abide in a single party. Disagreements with TsereteHi Stalin calls 
"trivial," which can be "lived down" in the framework of a single organization. We can gather from this 
how becoming it is for Stalin to condemn in retrospect Trotsky's conciliationist attitude to the Left 
Mensheviks ... in 1918. 

16. With such a position, Stalin, in the nature of things, could not counterpose anything serious to the 
S.R.'s and the Mensheviks in the Executive Committee of the Soviet, which, on his arrival, he entered as 
a representative of the party. There has not remained in the minutes or in the press a single proposal, 
declaration or protest in which Stalin in any distinguishable manner counterposed the Bolshevik point of 
view to the flunkeyism of the "revolutionary democracy" toward the bourgeoisie. One of the chroniclers 
of that period, the non-party semi-defensist Sukhanov, the author of the above — mentioned manifesto to 
the toilers of the whole world, says in his Note^ on the ReVoltJion: 

"Among the Bolsheviks, besides Kamenev, there appeared in the Executive Committee of the Soviets in 



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those days Stalin. During the time of his modest activity in the Execu tive Committee [he] gave me the 
impression — and not only more of a drab spot which would sometimes emit a dim and inconsequential 
light. There is really nothing more to be said about him." (Notes on the Revointion, Bk. 2, pp. 26sf.) 

17. Lenin, who had finally managed to break through from abroad, raged and thundered against the 
"Kautskyist" Pravda (the term is Lenin's). Stalin withdrew to the side lines. At the time when Kamenev 
manned the defenses, Stalin remained silent. Gradually he slid into the new official groove made by 
Lenin. But we do not find emanating from him a single independent idea or generalization on which it is 
worth while dwelling. Whenever the occasion arose, Stalin stepped in between Kamenev and Lenin. 

Let us take the most acute moment of the inner-party struggle on the eve of the October insurrection. 
Kamenev and Zinoviev came out in the non-party press against the insur rection. Lenin in a letter to the 
Central Committee branded their action as "infinitely vile," and raised the question of expelling them 
from the party. Lenin was particularly indig nant at the fact that in all their open declarations, Zinoviev 
and Kamenev, without ceasing to agitate against the insur rection, covered their violation of the decision 
of the party with hypocritical and diplomatic formulse. Meanwhile, on that very same day, October 20, 
there appeared to the astonishment of the Central Committee the following declara tion in the central 
organ of the party: 

''Statement by the Editorial Board. We on our part express the hope that the matter will be considered as 
closed with the statement made by comrade Zinoviev (and also comrade Kamenev's statement in the 
Soviet). The sharp tone of comrade Lenin's article does not alter tile fact that we are fundamentally in 
agreement." (Protocols of the C.C. ofS.D.LP.R., Aug. 1917 - Feb. 1918. State Pubhshers, 1929, p. 
137.) Thus, where Lenin spoke of an "infinitely vile" behavior, covered up by diplomatic subterfuges, the 
edi torial board, basing itself on these subterfuges, spoke of "agreement." 

The editorial board consisted at the time of Stalin and Sokolnikov. "Comrade Sokolnikov announced that 
he had had no part in the declaration of the editorial board with regard to the letters of Zinoviev, and that 
he regarded this declara tion as erroneous." (Idem., p. 128.) Thus, it was made clear that Stalin on his 
own responsibility supported-against Lenin, against the Central Committee, and against the other 
member of the editorial board — Kamenev and Zinoviev at the most critical moment, four days prior to 
the insurrection; and did so through an official declaration which could not but confuse the entire party. 
There was universal indigna tion. The protocol reads: "Comrade Stalin presents a state ment that he is 
withdrawing from the editorial board." (Idem., p. 129.) Rather than aggravate an already rather difficult 
situation, the Central Committee did not accept Stalin's resignation. 

But, after all, how explain the astounding declaration of Stalin in Pravda.- Like a number of other steps 
taken by Stalin during the period from April to October, the declara tion cannot be understood unless we 
take into consideration the fact that Stalin was under the influence of his Menshevik policy during March 
and the first days in April. What had occurred only yesterday was still so fresh in the minds of everyone. 
Stalin up to April 4 had marched so closely in step with Kamenev. The turn in party policy after April 4 
was so sharp that Stalin found himself all this time in a condition of acute political infirmity: he 
squirmed, kept mum, allowed others to commit themselves, but once in a while he would burst out 
against Lenin, in the spirit of the above-quoted editorial declaration. 

18. For a number of years, Stalin and all his Kuusinens have been broadcasting throughout the world the 
version alleging that Trotsky had wilfully and against the decision of the C.C. decided not to sign the 
peace treaty at Brest Litovsk. Stalin even undertook to prove this in the press. We have now the official 

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evidence as presented in the published protocols of the Central Committee for the year 1917. (State 
Publishers, 1929.) 

"Session of January 24, 1918. Comrade Trotsky moves the following formula to a vote: We terminate the 
war, but we do not conclude peace. The vote is taken. Carried: 9-for; 7-against." (Idem., p. 207.) 

That seems clear enough. 

19. What was Stalin's attitude to the formula of Trotsky? Here is what Stalin had to say one week after 
the session at which this formula had been adopted by a vote of 9 to 7. 

"Session of February 1 (January 19), 1918. 

Comrade STALIN:. .. the way out of the difficult situation was provided us by the middle point of 
view — the position of Trotsky." (Idem., p. 214.) 

We cannot but express our astonishment at how these words of Stalin ever came to be preserved in the 
protocols, despite the all-seeing eye of Saveliev, the editor. For these words leave no stone unturned in 
exposing the latter-day agitation of many years' standing on the subject of the Brest Litovsk peace. It now 
appears that on January 19 (February 1), 1918, Stalin considered that the position of Trotsky provided the 
party with a "way out of the difficult situation." Stalin's words will become fully comprehensible, if we 
bear in mind that throughout this entire critical period the overwhelming majority of the party 
organizations and of the Soviets were in favor of a revolutionary war and that, in consequence, Lenin's 
position could have been carried through only by means of an overturn in the party and in the 
government (which was, of course, utterly out of the question). Thus Stalin was not at all mistaken, but 
was only stating an incontrovertible fact when he said that Trotsky's position was the only conceivable 
way out for the party at that time. 

20. But what was Stalin's own position? 

"Session of February 23, 1918. Comrade Stalin: We need not sign but we must begin peace negotiations. 

"Comrade Lenin: . . . Stalin is wrong in saying that we need not sign. These conditions must be signed. If 
you do not sign them, you will sign the death sentence of the Soviet power within three weeks. 

"Comrade Uritsky, in refuting Stalin, states that the conditions must be either accepted or rejected, but 
that it is impossible to continue negotiations." (Idem., p. 249.) 

Anyone who is familiar with the situation at that moment, can clearly perceive the hopeless muddle in 
which Stalin found himself, arising from his lack of any thoroughly thought-out position. By the 18th of 
February the Germans had already captured Dvinsk. Their offensive was developing with extraordinary 
speed. The policy of stalling and pulling wires had been exhausted. Stalin proposes on February 23 not to 
sign the peace treaty, but ... to carry on negotiations. 

During the Brest-Litovsk negotiations Stalin had no independent position. He would vacillate, side-step 
and keep silent. At the last moment he would vote for Lenin's motion. The muddled and impotent 
position of Stalin during that period is characterized quite clearly, though not fully, even in the officially 
"improved" minutes of the C.C. 

21. During the period of the Civil War, Stalin was opposed to the principles upon which the creation of 



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the Red Army was based, and inspired behind the scenes the so-called "military opposition" against 
Lenin and Trotsky. The facts that pertain to this are in part dealt with in Trotsky's auto biography. (My 
Life, "The Military Opposition," Ch. XXXVI. See also Markin's article in this volume.) 

22. At the time when Lenin was ill and Trotsky away on a leave of absence, Stalin carried through in the 
Central Committee, under the influence of Sokolnikov, a decision undermining the monopoly of foreign 
trade. Owing to the decisive attack of Lenin and Trotsky this decision was revoked. (See "Letter to the 
Istpart. ") 

23. During the same period, Stalin assumed a position on the national question which Lenin condemned 
for its bureaucratic and chauvinistic tendencies. Stalin on his part accused Lenin of national liberalism. 
(See "Letter to the Istpart. ") 

24. What was Stalin's conduct on the question of the German Revolution in 1923? He was here once 
again compelled, as in March 1917, to orient himself independently on a major question. Lenin was ill, a 
struggle was being waged against Trotsky. Here is what Stalin wrote to Zinoviev and Bukharin in August 
1923 on the situation in Germany. 

"Should the Communists strive (at the given stage) to seize power without the Social Democrats? Have 
they sufficiently matured for that? — that's the question as I see it. Upon our taking power, we had in 
Russia such reserves as (a) peace; (b) land to the peasants; (c) the support of the vast majority of the 
working class; (d) the sympathy of the peasants. The German Communists have at present nothing of the 
sort. They have, of course, contiguous to them the land of the Soviets, which we did not have, but what 
can we give them at the present moment? Should the power in Germany, so to speak, drop now, and 
should the Communists catch it up, they'll fall through with a crash. That's 'at best.' But if it comes to the 
worst-they will be smashed to pieces and beaten back. The gist of the matter does not lie in Brandler's 
desire to 'teach the masses'; the gist of the matter is that the bourgeoisie plus the Right Social Demo crats 
would surely convert the practice-demonstration into a general battle (they still have all the odds on their 
side for that) and would crush them. The Fascists, of course, are not napping, but it is to our advantage to 
let the Fascists attack first: this will fuse the entire working class around the Communists (Germany is 
not Bulgaria). Moreover, the Fascists, according to all reports, are weak in Germany. In my opinion the 
Germans should be restrained and not encouraged." 

Thus, in August 1928, when the German Revolution was knocking at all doors, Stalin reckoned that 
Brandler must be restrained and not encouraged. Stalin bears the main responsibility for letting slip the 
revolutionary situation in Germany. He supported and encouraged the weaklings, the skeptics and the 
temporizers in Germany. He did not acci dentally assume an opportunist opposition on this question of 
world-historic importance: he was in essence only continu ing the policy that he had followed in Russia 
in March 1917. 

25. After the revolutionary situation had been doomed by passivity and irresolution, Stalin for a long 
time defended against Trotsky the Brandlerite C.C, thereby defending himself. In so doing Stalin 
brought, of course, the argument from "exceptionalism." Thus, December 17, 1924 — a year after the 
shipwreck in Germany-Stalin wrote: 

"One must not forget for an instant this peculiarity. It must especially be borne in mind in analyzing the 
German events in the Autumn of 1923. It must especially be borne in mind by comrade Trotsky, who 
draws a wholesale [! ] analogy [! ! ] between the October Revolution and the revolution in Germany and 



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who incessantly keeps lashing the German Communist Party." (Problems of Leninism, 1928,p. 171.) 

Accordingly, Trotsky was guilty in those days of "lashing" Brandlerism and not of patronizing it. It is 
quite evident from the above to what extent Stalin and his Molotov are of service in the struggle against 
the Rights in Germany ! 

26. The year 1924 is the year of the great turn. In the Spring of that year, Stalin was still repeating the old 
for mul-- of the impossibility of building socialism in one country, especially in a backward country. In 
the Autumn of that same year, Stalin broke with Marx and Lenin on the fundamental question of the 
proletarian revolution, and constructed his "theory" of socialism in one country. Incidentally, Stalin has 
nowhere developed this theory in a positive form, nor has he even expatiated on it. The entire foundation 
for it comes down to two quotations from Lenin that have been deliberately given a false interpretation. 
Stalin has made no reply to a single objection. The theory of socialism in one country has an 
administrative and not a theoretical foundation. 

27. In that same year, Stalin created the theory of "bi-composite," i.e., two-class worker and peasant 
parties for the Orient. This constitutes a break with Marxism and with the entire history of Bolshevism on 
the fundamental question of the class nature of the party. Even the Communist International found itself 
compelled in 1928 to draw back from this theory which has doomed the communist parties of the Orient 
for a long time to come. But this great discovery continues even today to grace the Stalinist Problems of 
Leninism. 

28. In that same year, Stalin carried through the subordination of Chinese communism to the bourgeois 
party of the Kuomintang, passing the latter off as a "worker and peasant" party of the type he had himself 
invented. 

The Chinese workers and peasants, on the authority of the Comintern, were politically enslaved to the 
bourgeoisie. Stalin organized in China the "division of labor" which Lenin prevented him from 
organizing in Russia in 1917: the Chinese wcrkers and peasants did the "conquering" while Chiang 
Kai-shek did the "fortifying." 

Stalin's policy was the direct and immediate cause of the shipwreck of the Chinese Revolution. 

29. Stalin's position and his zigzags on the questions of Soviet economic life are too fresh in the memory 
of the entire world, and, therefore, we shall not dwell on them here. 

80. In conclusion, we shall merely recall once again Lenin's "Testament." In question here is not a 
polemical article or speech, where one may with some justification presuppose inevitable exaggerations 
from the heat of the struggle. No, in the "Testament," Lenin, calmly weighing every word, offered his 
last counsel to the party, evaluating each one of his collaborators on the basis of his entire experience 
with them. What has he to say of Stalin? That Stalin is (a) rude, (b) disloyal, (c) inclined to abuse power. 
Conclusion: Remove Stalin from the post of General Secretary. 

A few weeks later Lenin also dictated a note to Stalin in which he announced that he was "breaking off 
all personal and comradely relations with him." This was one of the final expressions of Lenin's will. All 
these facts are recorded in the protocols of the July 1927 Plenum of the Central Committee. 

Here are a few milestones in the political biography of Stalin. They provide a sufficiently distinct portrait 
of a man in whom energy, will and resoluteness are combined with empiricism, myopia, an organic 



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inclination to opportunist decisions in great questions, personal rudeness, disloyalty and a readiness to 
abuse power in order to suppress the party. 



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Stalin School of Falscification - Chapter 12 



Leon Trotsky's 

THE STALIN SCHOOL OF 
FALSIFICATION 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive by David Walters 

in 1997 



How the October Insurrection Actually Took Place 

THE SCHEMA of the October overturn in the official delinea tion has undergone, as is well known, 
interminable changes in obedience to the political needs of the ruling group. The final version now set 
forth may be briefly forinulated in the follow ing words: Lenin demanded that the insurrection be 
expedited in every possible way. Zinoviev and Kamenev came out against the insurrection. Trotsky 
sought to defer the question of the insurrection to the Congress of the Soviets on October 25 (November 
7). Lenin implacably fought against the "consti tutional illusions" of Trotsky, who placed the question of 
the material seizure of power in dependence upon the Congress of the Soviets. The Central Committee, 
under the leadership of Stalin, supported the position of Lenin, and only thus was the October victory 
assured. 

The exposition of the actual course of events in my History of the Russia Revolution did not leave, I 
venture to believe, a stone unturned in exposing this historical falsification. I am now compelled to say 
that I could have been far more sparing of proofs, had I in my possession, when working on the History, 
the document which I succeeded in locating only later. 

On the 23rd of April 1920, the Moscow organization cele brated Lenin's fiftieth birthday, in the absence, 
to be sure, of the guest of honor who was not fond of such projects. One of the orators at the celebration 
was Stalin who, as we shall see presently, missed a wonderful opportunity to remain silent. The Moscow 
Committee published the jubilee speeches in a booklet on grayish paper (the year, 1920!) which has since 
become a bibliographical rarity. This tiny book has been forgotten by everybody, and those who are 
informed dare not mention it: An unseasonable reminder of historical facts can nowadays cost a man his 
head. 

In a very short and incoherent speech, Stalin set himself the task of pointing out "one trait [of Lenin's] 
about which no one has as yet spoken; namely, modesty, the admission of his mistakes." The orator 
adduced two examples: the first, relating to the boycott of the State Duma in 1905; the second, relating to 
the method and the date for the October insur rection. Let us quote literally Stalin's story of this second 
"mistake" of Lenin: 

"In 1917, in July, under Kerensky, at the moment the Democratic Conference was convoked and when 
the Menshe viks and the Social Revolutionaries were building up the new institution-the Pre-Parliament 
which was to have set the rails for a switch to the Constituent Assembly-now, at that very moment it was 
decided among ourselves in the Central Committee to go forward on the road of reenforcing the Soriets; 

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convene the Congress of the Soviets; launch the insurrection and proclaim the Congress of the Soviets as 
the organ of state power. Ilyich, at the time in hiding, was not in agreement and wrote that this garbage 
[the Democratic Conference] must be dispersed and arrested. We understood that the matter was not 
quite so simple, knowing full well that the Conference consisted one-half or at least one-third of 
delegates from the front, and that by arresting and dis persing we could only spoil the whole business and 
worsen the relations with the front. All the gullies, pits and ravines in our path were more easily to be 
seen by us. But Ilyich is great [?] ; he is not afraid [?! ] of either pits, hollows, or ravines in his path; he 
does not fear threats and says: 

'Begin and go straight ahead.' But our faction saw that it was not to our advantage at the time to act in 
this way; thatitwas necessary to walk around these obstacles in order to take the bull by the horns. And 
despite all the demands of Ilyich, we proceeded along the road of ree-^nforcement and came up [?] on 
October 25 before the picture of the insurrection. Ilyich, smiling, looking at us slyly, said: 'Yes, you were 
right.' This again astonished us. At times. Comrade Lenin, in questions of immense importance, admitted 
his failings [?].. . '' (The Fiftieth AnniversaryofV.l. Ulianov Lenin, 1920, 27ff.) 

Stalin's speech has not entered into any collection of his "works." Yet it is instructive to the highest 
degree. In the first place, it leaves no stone unturned of the latter-day legend alleging that the Central 
Committee, under the leader ship of Lenin, smashed the "constitutional illusions" of Trotsky with regard 
to the date and the method of the insur rection. According to Stalin — according, that is, to the Stalin of 
1920 - it follows, on the contrary, that upon this question the Central Committee supported Trotsky 
against Lenin. 

In my recollections of Lenin published in 1924, 1 related how Lenin, when he arrived at the Smolny on 
the night of the 25th, said to me: "Well, well — it can be done that way too. Just take the power." The 
"historian" Yaroslavsky in 1930 indignantly denied the authenticity of this story. For, you see, the 
overturn had been accomplished by the Central Com mittee in accord with Lenin - and against Trotsky; 
how then could Lenin have said: "It can be done that way too"? Yet, from Stalin we learn that the Central 
Committee "despite all the demands of Ilyich" pursued its line oriented upon the Congress of the Soviets 
and "came up on October 25 before the picture of the insurrection"; while Lenin on arriving at the 
Smolny announced: "YeSy you were right. " Is it possible to imagine a more convincing, even if 
involuntary, confirma tion of my story and a more crushing refutation of all the latter-day fictions? 

However, the actual plan of the Central Committee was delineated inaccurately by Stalin even in 1920: 
"to go forward on the road of re-enforcing the Soviets; convene the Congress of the Soviets; lanach the 
insurrection and proclaim the Congress of the Soviets as the organ of state power" - this constitutes, 
after all, that very same mechan istic schema which was not unjustifiably stigmatized by Lenin because 
of its "constitutional illusions." To call in advance the Congress of the Soviets in order only later to 
summon the insurrection would have meant to facilitate for our opponents the opportunity for dealing a 
blow at the Con gress of the Soviets before the insurrection. Involuntarily the question arises: Were not 
Lenin's fears a result of one of his meetings with Stalin? As a matter of fact, the plan con ducted and 
realized by me in action consisted in this: that in the process of mobilizing the masses under the slogan of 
the Congress of the Soviets as the supreme organ in the country, amd tbnder the cover of this legal 
campaign^ we prepare the insurrection and strike the blow at a propitious moment, proximate to the 
Congress of the Soviets but by no means necessarily after the opening of the Congress. 

Whoever reads carefully the chapters in my History treat ing of the disagreements in the party on the eve 



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of the October overturn will without difficulty ascertain that Stalin in his speech depicts the divergence 
between the Central Com mittee and Lenin far more sharply than was done by me. And this for the very 
reason that the differences and controversies of that period found their reflection only partially and, more 
over, indirectly in letters and other documents. In my presen tation, I meticulously avoided personal 
recollections, unless I was unable to substantiate them through other sources. I was doubly cautious 
inasmuch as it was a question of a tacti cal disagreement with Lenin on which the subsequent course of 
events confirmed the correctness of my own position. I might point out that Stalin's speech at the jubilee 
meeting of 1920 was not and could not have been contradicted by anybody there. If the speech, in 
conformity with the general mental equipment of the orator, tends to simplify the ques tion, then it all the 
more weightily refutes that version which was concocted with the participation of Stalin during the most 
recent period. 

Leon Trotsky 
March 3, 1937. 



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Stalin School of Falsification - Chapter 13 



Leon Trotsky's 

THE STALIN SCHOOL OF 
FALSIFICATION 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive by David Walters 

in 1997 



APPENDIX 

Stalin and the Red Army by N. Markin 

UNDER THE HEADING, "Stalin and the Red Army," Pravda has printed a jubilee article by Voroshilov 
v^hose avov^ed aim is to "refresh the memories of the comrades" about the past. This article has been 
republished in pamphlet form, in an edition of 100,000. It is worth while to dwell in some detail upon 
this piece of creative writing. It sets a record in the quantity of fictions and discrepancies, even against 
the background of the articles written by all the Yaroslavkys. It may be said without exaggeration that 
this article does not contain a line of truth — not even a singleline. We shall try as briefly as possible to 
re-establish the truth by citing actual facts and genuine documents, some of which have never been 
published. (We have utilized a section of comrade Trotsky's archives.) 

TSARITSIN 

In his autobiography, comrade Trotsky has dealt in considerable detail with the history and the roots of 
the "Tsaritsin Opposition." [611 This opposition had one of its roots in a peasant's hatred - and not that of 
a proletarian — of "spetzes" specialists], which hatred in no way hindered every Tsaritsinite from having 
close at hand his "own spetz,, only of an inferior grade." The telegrams of Stalin which are cited by 
Voroshilov illuminate to the utmost this "spetzo phobia" of the Tsaritsinites and their "ideologist" Stalin. 
After the Eighth Party Congress (March 1919), the question of the "spetzes" was settled in pririciple. Ten 
years later we learn "officially," with Voroshilov's assistance, that Stalin was among those elements who 
were able to grasp the ques tion of the military specialists only after a considerable time and with 
considerable difficulty. These elements held the supreme manifestation of revolutionism to be "the stupid 
taunting of military specialists" (Trotsky). Voroshilov, who remains today on the Tsaritsin level, instead 
of seeking to hide more securely Stalin's mental lapses of 1919, obliges us with exemplars of this "stupid 
taunting": 

Had not our military 'specialists' (shoemakers) been sleeping and loafing, the line would not have been 
broken; and should the line be restored it will not be due to the mill tary gentry but despite them." 

And more of the same, in the self-same spirit of wholesale taunting and cheap boasting. Therein is all 
their wisdom. These telegrams — today — in the light of the experience of the civil war, compromise their 
author to such an extent that we shall confine ourselves merely to confronting them with the remarks 
made by comrade Trotsky in another connection, but which directly apply in this instance: 

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This is the worst type of commander. They remain ever ignorant, but they ever refuse to learn. For their 
fail ures-how could they possibly gain successes ? — they always seek explanations in somebody else's 
betrayal... . Tenaciously hanging on to their posts, they react with hatred to the very mention of military 
science. For them, the latter is synonymous with treason and betrayal." (L. Trotsky, How the Revolution 
Armed Itself . Vol. I, pp. 172f.) 

Later on in his article, Voroshilov, with undisguised approbation, almost in ecstacy, quotes the following 
from the White Guard turncoat, Nossovich: 

"What particularly characterized this breach was the attitude taken by Stalin to the telegrams with 
instruction from the center. When Trotsky, in alarm at the disruption of the regions he had with such 
great difficulty organized, sent a telegram pointing out the necessity of leaving the Staff and 
Commissariat as they were, and of giving them an oppor tunity to function, Stalin would make a 
categorical and very significant notation on the telegram: 'Disregard this.' 

"So the telegram was disregarded, and the entire artillery staff, together with a part of the leading staff, 
would remain sitting on a barge in Tsaritsin." 

Voroshilov puts his signature to these words; he adopts them, as it were. Until now, we must confess, it 
would have never even entered our mind to give any credence to Nosso vich. But we are compelled to 
take the word of both Voroshi lov and Nossovich. "What particularly characterized" Stalin's attitude 
toward telegrams with instructions from the center was: "disregard." Stalin's worst enemy could not have 
caused him greater injury than did Voroshilov by appending his seal of approval to the characterization 
of the White Guard, Nossovich. 

It is not difficult to judge what sort of discipline prevailed in the Tenth Army under these conditions. The 
orders of the Military Revolutionary Council were being violated in a deliberately demonstrative manner. 
Stalin's "resolution" was made common knowledge to Nossovich, to the army itself, while the center 
alone was kept in ignorance. Observe, gentle men, here is an example for you of how to "cover up." If 
the instructions of the center were incorrect from the standpoint of local conditions, there was always the 
opportunity of revoking or changing them through the normal channels. The Military Council maintained 
a practical discipline and not an officious one. Especially characteristic of Stalin is his manner of not 
fulfilling orders, without the knowledge of the Military Council, behind the latter's hack, and with a 
special display of "independence." It must be stated candidly that had one-fifth or even one-tenth of the 
responsible leaders of the army displayed the above-mentioned "characteristic trait" of Stalin, the Red 
Army would have never gained its victories, and the revolution would have been massacred. And it was 
precisely owing to this "characteristic trait," and for no other reason, that first Stalin and then Voroshilov 
were removed from Tsaritsin by the decision of the Political Bureau. 

Stalin's indiscipline and disloyalty were likewise clearly made evident in his direct relations with the 
Military Council itself. It was of course impossible in this case to reply "I disregard this," but there were 
other methods of expressing the notorious "characteristic trait." We shall give a few such examples, 
together with Lenin's attitude to them. 

In transmitting to Trotsky one of Stalin's telegrams (No. 02588, May 29, 1920), Lenin, who was well 
aware of Stalin's disloyalty, appended the following note in his own hand writing: 

"Comrade Trotsky: If you have not received this telegram as well as all decoded telegrams to the 

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Secretariat of the Vice- Chairman, then you should immediately send Stalin the following code telegram 
with my signature: 'Forward all military dispatches also to Trotsky, otherwise dangerous delay. Lenin'." 
(Lenin's emphasis throughout. The Secretariat of the Vice-Chairman refers to Sklyansky, Trotsky's 
alternate in the Military Council. — N. M.) 

The gist of the matter is clear without any commentaries. Another instance. Transmitting (during one of 
the sessions) Stalin's telegram-No. 4620, June 4, 1920-to Trotsky, Vladimir Ilyich added the following 
note: 

"Comrade Trotsky: It is necessary to get in touch with the Chief Commander and to demand their 
conclusions. After receiving their opinion, send me your own conclusions to the session of the Council of 
Defense. We shall talk (if it is not too late) on the telephone." (The note is in Lenin's hand writing.) 

"I do not understand this system: why does not Yegorov (in command of the Southern Front) report 
directly to the Chief Commander as he was ordered to do - this roundabout way disrupts all stability of 
communications." (This notation is in Trotsky's handwriting.) 

"Some capriciousness here, no doubt . . . ," replied Lenin on the same note. 

In concluding his Tsaritsin recollections, Voroshilov writes: 

"Stalin worked with a colossal energy." But Voroshilov passes over in silence the end to which this 
energy was in the main directed, and the conclusion of this Tsaritsin epic (which had its sequel in the 
Ukraine). The reason for his silence can be easily gathered from documents we print below. 

Telegram 

"Moscow. To the Chairman of the C.E.C. of the Soviets; copy, Moscow: To Lenin., Chairman of the 
Council of People's Commissars. From Tambov. 

"I insist categorically on Stalin's recall. Tsaritsin front in a bad way, despite the abundance of troops. 
Voroshilov qualified to command a regiment, but not an army of 50,000. Nevertheless I shall leave him 
in command of the Tenth Tsaritsin Army on condition of obedience to Sytin, the commander of the 
Southern Army. The Tsaritsinites have failed to date to transmit to Kozlov even reports of operations. I 
ordered them to transmit twice a day reports of operations and reconnoitering. If this is not done 
tomorrow, I will commit Voroshilov and Minin to trial, and announce this in an order to the Army. In so 
far as Stalin and Minin remain in Tsaritsin, they, in accordance with the constitution of the Military 
Council, possess only the rights of members of the Military Council of the Tenth Army. Very little time 
left for an offensive before the roads become impassable either by foot or by horse. Without cotirdinating 
activities with Tsaritsin, serious steps are impossible. No time left for dip lomatic negotiations. Tsaritsin 
must either submit or be removed. We possess a colossal superiority in forces but there is complete 
anarchy among the tops. This can be overcome within 24 hours provided your support is firm and 
decisive. In any case, this is the only way out that I see personally. 

"October 4, 1918. No.552. 

"Trotsky." 

The next day Trotsky sent another telegram: 



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"Moscow. To the Chairman of the C.E.C. [of the Soviets]. Copy to the Chairman of the Council of 
People's Commissars, Leisn. 

"I have received the following telegram: 'Stalin's military order number 118 must be cancelled. I have 
issued all neces sary orders to the commander of the Southern Front, Sytin. Stalin's actions are destroying 
all my plans. . . . No. 01258, Commander in Chief, Vatsetis. Member of the Military Council, 
Danishevsky.' Trotsky. Kozlov, Oct. 5, 1918." 

Stalin was removed from Tsaritsin. It became easier to "manage" Voroshilov without Stalin. Trotsky also 
agreed to allow Voroshilov to remain, in an attempt to adjust the situa tion. However, Voroshilov, too, 
had shortly to be removed, for Stalin continued to direct him in the former spirit from Moscow. In the 
Ukraine, where Voroshilov was next appointed, he sought to continue the "Tsaritsin line," which resulted 
in the following telegrams from Trotsky: 

"Moscow. To the Chairman of the C.E.C, Sverdlov: 

"Did not find the Ukrainians in Kursk. In consequence, carried on no negotiations. Must state 
categorically that the Tsaritsin line, which led to the complete disintegration of the Tsaritsin Army, 
cannot be tolerated in the Ukraine. . . . The Ukrainians are in chaos. There is a clique struggle due to the 
absence of responsible and authoritative leaders. Okulov is leaving for Moscow. Propose that you and 
comrade Lenin give utmost attention to his report on Voroshilov's work. The line of Stalin, Voroshilov 
and Rukhimovich spells ruin for our entire cause. Chairman of the Military Council, Trotsky. Jan. 10, 
1919. Gryaz." 

The following day, in reply to a (missing) telegram from Lenin, Trotsky transmitted by direct wire: 

"To comrade Lenin: 

"Compromise is of course necessary hut not a rotten one. As a matter of fact, all the Tsaritsinites have 
now foregathered in Kharkov. What the Tsaritsinites are you can gather from the report of Okulov which 
contains solely fac tual material and reports of Commissars. I consider Stalin's patronage of the Tsaritsin 
tendency a most dangerous ulcer worse than any treason or betrayal by military specialists. If not for the 
prospects of the Anglo-French front in the Ukraine one might remain indifferent to the question of the 
commanding staff. But we shall have to carry on serious operations there. Rukhimovich is only an alias 
for Voroshi lov. Within a month we shall have to swallow the Tsaritsin mess, having against us this time 
not the Cossacks but the Anglo-French. Rukhimovich is not alone. They firmly hang on to each other, 
raising ignorance into a principle. Voroshi lov plus the Ukrainian partisan methods plus the low cul tural 
level of the population, plus demagogy-this cannot be accepted under any conditions. Let them appoint 
Artem, but not Voroshilov or Rukhimovich. 

"Am immediately leaving for Balashov, because of certain alarming developments there. If you are 
unable to arrange matters with the Ukrainians by correspondence, I shall sum mon them to Voronezh. 
Greetings. 

"Once again I urge a careful reading of Okulov's report on the Tsaritsin Army and how Voroshilov 
demoralized it with the assistance of Stalin. Trotsky. Jan. 11, 1919 (Balashov)." Lenin during that period 
was still inclined toward a compromise with the Tsaritsinites. But the situation became worse and worse. 
It is quite possible that under the influence of Lenin's "lashing" Voroshilov "pulled himself together" a 
little in the beginning. That is how we are inclined to explain the fact that for a period of almost five 

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months Trotsky did not raise the "question" of Voroshiloy. But in June, it all started up again. This time 
Lenin no longer counted on a compromise but made a sharp rebuff to Voroshilov and Co. 

We reprint a telegram by Trotsky and two telegrams by Lenin in reply. 

"From Kantemirovka. To Moscow. To Sklyansky. To Lenin. 

"Insistent demands of certain Ukrainians to merge the Second, Thirteenth and Eighth Ukrainian Armies 
under Voroshilov are utterly indefensible. What we need is not an operative unity on the Donetz scale but 
a general unity against Denikin. The disgraceful condition of food supplies in the Donetz basin are a 
result in the first place of inade quate deliveries and secondly of the absence of a civil supplies apparatus. 
The idea of the military and food dictatorship by Voroshilov is the result of the Donetz 'separatism', 
directed against Kiev and the Southern Front. Melnichansky has failed completely to take this into 
consideration. I have no doubt that the realization of this plan would only aggravate the chaos, and 
completely kill military leadership. Please demand of the C.C. that Voroshilov and Mezhlauk carry out 
the wholly real task set them: the creation of a strong Sec ond Ukrainian Army. Expect tomorrow or the 
next day to summon to Izyum, the central junction, the commanders of the Eighth, the Thirteenth, and 
the Second Armies, i.e., Voroshilov (together with Mezhlauk and Podvoisky) and the supply-men in 
order to effect a union of all that should be united, without in any way creating a Donetz Military 
Republic. June 1, 1919. No. 79/c. Chairman of the Military Council, Trotsky." 

The same day, Lenin sent a reply to the "Ukrainians": 

"Kharkov. To Mezhlauk. To Voroshilov. To Melnichan sky. To Artem. To Kaminsky. 

"It is absolutely imperative that all agitation be stopped immediately, and that all work be placed on a 
military basis. You must appoint without fail individual who will be respon sible for carrying out strictly 
specified tasks. After all, we must have military discipline. The Commander of the Second Army and the 
Military Council of the Second Army must consult on all things with their direct superior command, i.e., 
Gittis. Drop all plans of separate groups and any similar attempts at restoring the Ukrainian front in a 
disguised manner. The equipment and the arms in the Ukraine and at the disposal of Gittis will su-^ce. If 
chaos, agitation and bickerings as to priority are done away with, you will be able to obtain everything. 
Send detailed information as to the fulfillment of specific orders, such as the arrival of military 
detachments at the appointed place, the collection of arms, etc. 

"June 1, 1919. No.350. Lenin." 

"Kharkov. To Mezlilauk. To Voroshilov. Copy to Mel nichansky, Artem and Kaminsky. 

"The Political Bureau of the C.C. met on June 1 and in complete agreement with Trotsky decisively 
rejected the plan of the Ukrainians to unite the Second, Eighth and Thirteenth Armies and to create a 
separate Donetz unit. We demand that Voroshilov and Mezhlauk carry out their immediate task of 
creating a strong Ukrainian Army. Tomorrow or the next day Trotsky will call you to Izyum and issue 
more detailed orders. Send more precise, adequate and strictly factual 

accounts of how much war material Voroshihoc took from Grigoriev, and elsewhere. By the instruction 
of the Bureau of the C.C. Lenin. '' 

We observe from these two telegrams that the Tsaritsin experiment did not pass without leaving a trace, 
and that Lenin was considerably worried by the situation. The second of Lenin's two telegrams, sent a 

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few hours after the first, is "bolstered" up with the words, "By the instruction of the Bureau of the C.C." 
That is how matters really stood with the "Tsaritsinites" and "Tsaritsinism," with Stalin and Vorosbilov! 

PERM 

First of all, we shall demonstrate Voroshilov's manner of quoting documents (unfortunately we have not 
at our dis posal all the documents and therefore we are unable to expose textually all the "refreshing"). 
Here is what Voroshilov writes: 

"Lenin telegraphed to the then Chairman of the Military Council: Received a number of party reports 
from Perm concerning the catastrophic condition of the army, and of drunkenness. I thought to send 
Stalin - I fear Smilga will be soft with . . . who according to rumors drinks himself and is not in a 
position to restore order." 

We shall now quote from the actual text of the telegram, which reveals what Voroshilov did to Lenin's 
text: 

"To Kozlov. Forward to the Chairman of the Military Council, Trotsky. Moscow, December 31, 1918. 
No.6684. 

"Received a number of party reports from beneath Perm concerning the catastrophic condition of the 
army, and of drunkenness. Sesidi-g them to you. They request that you go there. I thought to send Stalin, 
I fear Smilga will be soft with . . . who, according to rumors, drinks himself and is not in a position to 
restore order. Wire your opi--ioa. Lenin." 

The italicized words were swallowed by Voroshilov who did this without choking, without so much as 
placing the all saving dots. The psychology and the reasons behind that are clear. 

Trotsky replied to Vladimir Ilyich from Voronezh on Jan uary 1,1919: 

"From the reports of the operations of the Third Army I concluded that complete confusion existed 
among the tops there, and proposed a change of command. The decision was delayed. Consider now that 
change unpostponable. Com pletely share your fears about the extreme softness of the comrade assigned 
there. Agree to Stalin's going with plenipotentiary powers from the party and the Military Council. 

"Chairman of the Military Council, Trotsky." 

Voroshilov of course does not mention this at all for these two telegrams as well as any scores of others 
reveal only too vividly the nature of the collaboration between Lenin and Trotsky. 

Now as to the trip itself. The assignment of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky to Vyatka was purely for the purpose 
of inspec tion. This is quite evidenl from the decision of the C.C. itself ("To appoint a party investigating 
committee com posed of the following members of the C.C: Stalin and Dzerzhinsky, in order to make a 
detailed investigation into the reasons for the surrender of Perm, and the latest defeats on the Ural front; 
and also to elucidate all the circum stances surrounding the above facts, etc."). In the telegrams of 
Dzerzhinsky and Stalin from Vyatka, quoted by Voroshi lov, they constantly demand ree--nforcements, 
failing which, in their opinion, "Vyatka is doomed." Voroshilov then proceeds to do some "refreshing" 
on his own account, and does it in a deliberately equivocal manner so as to create the impression that he 
is only re-stating official documents. It appears that one of the reasons for the surrender of Perm was "the 
criminal methods of managing the Front by the Military Council of the Republic." Let us for a moment 



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allow that Voroshilov is right. The question arises: Why did the party tolerate Trotsky and the entire 
Military Council of that time? Why was not Trotsky removed during the years of the civil war? 
Furthermore: Why were victories gained on all fronts under the leadership of the "then" Military Coun 
cil? After all, Military Councils are intended for war and not peace! Why were neither Stalin nor 
Voroshiloy called upon to lead the army, but, on the contrary, removed time and again from difficult 
sectors? By their declarations the Stalinists compromise only the party, the Central Commit tee and 
Lenin. If the myths the Stalinists record were true, it would mean that the C.C. was gnilty of the gravest 
crimes towards the revolution. For it must be borne in mind that all these things took place in the period 
of cruel civil war and not in peace-time when all the Voroshilovs are freely able to "refresh." 

But that is not all. Summarizing the "historic" trip of Stalin to Vyatka, Voroshilov writes: "In 
consequence of all these [?] measures [of Stalin-Dzerzhinsky] not only was the further offensive of the 

enemy halted, but in January Uralsk was captured." Here is a zeal truly exces sive! "In 

consequence" of Stalin's having safely visited Vyatka in January 1919, a thouSand kilonirters away-one 
thousand !-from Vyatka, Uralsk was captured. ... In the month of January, i.e., at the very moment when 
Stalin Dzerzhinsky arrived in Vyatka there could not have been any results even in Vyatka itself. 
("Results"-that is easier written than done.) Or is it perhaps precisely for that reason that Voroshilov had 
to go to Uralsk to excavate them? 

We shall not dwell in detail on Voroshilov's next chapter entitled "Petrograd," we confine ourselves 
merely to three points. 

1. We shall not undertake to judge the extent to which Stalin was instrumental in recapturing Krasnaya 
Gorka (it had been evacuated without any cause, and was "retaken" four days later without any 
difficulty). Voroshilov confines himself to vagne generalities. But this particular episode is entirely 
insignificant. 

2. The Krasnaya Gorka episode pertains to June 1919. At that time, Stalin, according to his apologist, 
"liquidated a most dangerous situation beneath Petrograd." Yet the advance of Yudenich and the collapse 
of the Seventh Army (in which Stalin functioned) began precisely after the above mention--d 
"liquidation," attaining its most critical stage in October 1919. From June to October the situation of the 
Red Army beneath Petrograd became worse and worse. Under these circumstances, to say that Stalin had 
"liquidated" the danger is, to put it mildly . . . risky. Stalin did very little beneath Petrograd, and indeed 
there was probably not much that he could have done: this front was at that time tem porarily neglected. 
But in that case why is Stalin depicted with the halo of a "savior"? 

3 . The point, however, is that Voroshilov is here resorting to juggling with words. The entire and most 
transparent trick lies in the use of the word "Petrograd." In the history of the civil war there is only one 
decisive "liquidation of the most dangerous situation beneath Red Petrograd" --and that is the victory over 
Yudenich in October 1919, which took place four months after Stalin's excursion to Petrograd. This is 
not a matter of common knowledge, but, on the other hand, every body is acquainted with the fact that 
Yudenich was liquidated. That is precisely the foundation upon which Voroshilov's trick is built: "To 
assign" to Stalin the actual liquidation of the danger, i.e., that danger with which Stalin had absolutely no 
connection. 

Incidentally, Stalin himself in his own time appraised his journeys with much less assuranca — and that is 
hardly to be wondered at, since it was ten years ago! Here, for example, is what he wired in reply to a 
proposal of the C.C. that he go to the Southwestern Front: "February 4th, 1919. To the C.C. of the Party. 

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To comrades Lenin and Trotsky. My own profound conviction is: No change in the situation can possibly 
be effected by my trip. . . 

Or, are we perhaps to seek the causes for that in another "characteristic" trait of Stalin — his 
"capriciousness" (Lenin)? In any case, these are the facts. And facts are stubborn things. 

THE SOUTHERN FRONT 

Following in the footsteps of Voroshilov, we now pass to the central and most important question, that of 
the Southern Front. Here, in addition to an immense pile of all sorts of petty insinuations, we find two 
"general" falsifications (al though, perhaps, falsification is much too mild an expression). 

The first '' general' falsification. This is how Voroshilov describes the autumn of 1919, i.e., the most 
crucial period of the civil war (Denikin threatens Tula; Yudenich threatens Petrograd). "The situation had 
to be saved, so the C.C sent comrade Stalin to the Southern Front in his capacity as a member of the 
Military Council. It is now [!] no longer necessary to hide [!] that prior to his appointment comrade 
Stalin put three main conditions to the C.C: 1) Trotsky must not interfere in the affairs of the Southern 
Front and must not trespass the lines of demarcation set. . . . These conditions were completely 
accepted." [Accroding to Voroshilov, the second and third conditions consisted of a change in a number of responsible 
workers and the appointment of new ones (he gives no names ~ is it perhaps the Tsaritsinites who are hidden under the 
pseudonym 'new ones"?) -NM. ] This is a lie from beginning to end. It does not even contain that grain of 
truth which is occasionally contained even in a lie. Why has the time for this latest disclosure arrived 
only "now"? After all, since the year 1924 everything has been "disclosed" that could have been 
"disclosed." Why was it necessary to wait before making the latest disclosure which is by far less sen 
sational than scores of others made in 1929? It is not for nothing that Voroshilov once again resorts to a 
free rendition "in his own words." If such a decision of the C.C. really existed, why wasn't it quoted? 
And why refrain in general from precise reference to facts and documents? The reason is quite apparent. 
Every fact, every document is in flagrant contradiction with this invention. It ought, by the way, to be 
remarked here that it is not Voroshilov himself who invented this history. He recounts only that which 
Stalin in sheer affectation announced during one of the sessions of the Political Bureau back in 1927. 
Rumors of it penetrated into the party even at that time, arousing indignation among some comrades 
(those who were well informed), and among others, complete bewilderment. We must also add that 
during the session of the Political Bureau at which Stalin spoke, minutes were taken which were meant 
for publication, as is always the case in such procedure. At this session N. I. Muralov, present in the 
capacity of a member of the Central Control Commission, gave an annihilating answer in rebuttal to 
Stalin. The recorded minutes were then placed under lock and key and never made public to the party, 
despite the insist ence of the Opposition. Comrade Trotsky at that time (in his "letter to the Istpart" and 
since then in his autobiog raphy) refuted this absurd fiction with documents in hand. Neither Stalin nor 
anybody else either at that time or since then brought any semblance of excerpts or proofs. Neither Stalin 
nor anybody else, either at that time or since then, has had a single word to say in reply to the irrefutable 
docu ments cited by Trotsky. Moreover, they were compelled to keep silent. Today, three years later, 
Voroshilov once again raises this ridiculous piece of gossip. But let us give the floor to the documents: 

"Moscow, July 5, 1919. 

"The Communist Party of Russia (B.) 

"Central Committee "Kremlin. 



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"The Organization Bureau and the PoHtical Bureau of the Central Committee, after considering the 
statement of com rade Trotsky and discussing it in full, have come to the unani mous conclusion that his 
resignation cannot be accepted, being entirely out of question. 

''The Organization Bureau and the Political Bureau of the Central Conmittee will do all that they can to 
make more convenient for comrade Trotsky, and more fruitful for the Republic, that work On the 
Southern Front which comrade Trotsky himself has chosen and which is the most difficult, the most 
dangerous and the most important at the present noment. In his position as People's Commissar for War 
and Chairman of the Military Council, comrade Trotsky is also fully empowered to act as a member of 
the Military Revolutionary Council of the Southern Front with the Commissar of the Southern Front 
(Yegorov) whom he himself proposed and whom the Central Committee has confirmed. 

"The Organization Bureau and the Political Bureau of the Central Committee give comrade Trotsky full 
authority by every means whatsoever to achieve what he considers a neces sary correction of policy on 
the military question and, if he so desires, to expedite the Congress of the party. 

"Firmly convinced that the withdrawal of comrade Trotsky at the present moment is absolutely 
impossible, and that it would cause the greatest injury to the Republic, the Organ szation Bureau and the 
Political Bureau of the Central Com mittee emphatically suggest to comrade Trotsky not to raise this 
question again and to fulfill his functions in the future, if he so desires, concentrating them in the 
marimum on his work at the Southern Front. 

"In view of this the Organization Bureau and the Political Bureau of the Central Committee reject both 
the resignation of comrade Trotsky from the Political Bureau and his with drawal from the post of the 
Chairman of the Military Coun cil of the Republic (People's Commissar for War). 

[Signed] 

"Lenin 

"Kamenev 

" Krestinsky " Kalinin 

"Serebriakov 

"Stalin 

"Stassova. 

"Checked by Secretary of the Central Committee, 
Helena Stassova." 

This document neither requires any commentaries nor does it allow of any false interpretations. Comrade 
Trotsky has dealt in his autobiography with the reasons which impelled him to take this serious step ( My 
Life, pp. 453f.). We shall in passing take the opportunity to indicate how the Central Committee reacted 
when Stalin sought to "threaten" resig nation. We cite an excerpt from the session of the Political Bureau, 
November 14th, 1919: 

"(Present: Lenin, Trotsky, Kamenev, Krestinsky.) To inform comrade Stalin that the Political Bureau 
regards as absolutely impermissible any attempt to ree-^nforce practical demands with ultimatums and 
declarations of resignation." 

Thus, the entire Central Committee sustained comrade Trotsky's decision that he concentrate his work on 



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the Southern Front, as the decisive front. This document alone crumbles to dust the Voroshilov 
construction. But one could adduce scores of other proofs that Trotsky spent most of his time at the 
Southern Front. For example, one need only examine the orders of Trotsky to the Red Army for the year 
1919 in order to become convinced that the overwhelming majority of them not only apply to the 
Southern Front but were issued at the very front itself (in connection with another question we shall later 
deal more fully with this). In particular, the entire decisive preparatory stage which pre ceded the 
advance against Denikin was spent by Trotsky at the Southern Front, with the exception of October and 
the beginning of November when he directed the defense of Petrograd. 

It seems to us that we have dealt amply with this question above. But what sloppiness and what 
disrespect for the party are needed in order to put in circulation the Voroshilov twaddle! 

The second'' generar falsification. This time we have apparently an independent (and, indeed, for the 
first time expressed) invention of the "refresher" himself. We have in mind the question of the two 
strategic plans for the Southern Front. In accordance with the plan of the Chief Command the decisive 
blow was to have been dealt to Denikin from the Balashov-Kamishin Front at Nizhni Don. This plan was 
based on the idea of annihilating Denikin's Cossack base, even at the cost of our own retreat in the 
direction of Moscow. Trotsky from the very beginning (July 1919) considered this plan erroneous and 
fought against its confirmation by the Central Committee. He considered that this plan would only assist 
in uniting two absolutely heterogeneous social formations, i. e., the Cossacks with the volunteer army. 
On the contrary, by dealing a blow along the line Voronezh-Kharkov-Donbass, the Red Army would 
move in a socially friendly milieu (the Kharkov and Donetz proletariat and peasantry), the Cos sacks 
would be cut off from Denikin, on whom would fall the entire force of the blow. Nevertheless, the plan 
of the Chief Command was accepted, with the direct assistance of Stalin and against the sharp opposition 
of Trotsky. (The episode of Trotsky's handing in his resignation is intimately linked up with the question 
of the Southern strategic plan.) There followed serious failures at the front (all this can be easily checked 
up chronologically). Trotsky characterized the situation in September 1919 (and not ten years later as 
Voroshi lov is doing) in his letter to the Central Committee of the party as follows: 

"The plan of operations on the Southern Front which was worked out di priori has proved false to the 
core. The failures at the Southern Front are to be explained first and foremost by the falseness of the 
basic plan. . . . Therefore the reasons for the failures must be sought entirely in the plan of operations." 

And Trotsky goes on to explain how and why this erroneous plan came to originate: 

"The erroneousness of this plan is now so self-evident, that the question arises: How could it have 
originated at all? Its origin is to be explained historically. When Kolchak threat ened the Volga the chief 
threat was in the junction between Denikin and Kolchak. In a letter to Kolchak, Denikin set Saratov as 
the meeting place. Hence the task as proposed even by the old command was the creation of a powerful 
wedge in the Tsaritsin-Saratov area. . . ." (How the Revolution Armed Itself Vol.2, Bk. 1, pp. 300f. This 
document was published more than six years ago. Voroshilov, it is obvious, counts — not without some 
justification - on the fact that all of Trotsky's books had been removed from circulation.) 

Shortly prior to the writing of this document, comrade Trotsky had succeeded at the front in convincing 
Lashevich and Serebriakov of the correctness of his plan. The result of this agreement was their joint 
code telegram which we quote in full: 

"Moscow. To the Chief Command; copy to the C.C. 



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"Consider it necessary to draw your attention to the fol lowing questions: 

"The efforts to Hquidate Mamontov have thus far brought almost no results. Motorized machine gun 
detachments have not been created because of non-receipt of machine guns for 

even the small number of available automobiles. Mamontov is clearly headed through the Kursk front to 
effect a junction with his allies. Our weak and dispersed infantry detachments hardly harass him. 
Lashevich's command is being paralyzed by lack of a contact apparatus. Mamontov's successfully 
effecting unification may be considered almost assured. The danger of the front being broken in the 
Kursk- Voronezh area becomes self-evident. Lashevich's most pressing task comes down to following the 
enemy in order to attempt to fill up the breach that the latter will make. The attempt to harass Mamontov 
with partisan activities will be made. The center of gravity of the struggle on the Southern Front has 
shifted entirely in the direction of Kursk-Voronezh where we have no reserves. The destruction of the 
road prevents the transfer of troops from the Tsaritsin sector to Kursk. Yet the situation imperiously 
demands the transfer of reserves to the West. Possibly the cavalry corps of Budenny may be able to 
march there. It is also necessary to add that the situation is being aggravated in the extreme by the 
complete breakdown of the front line apparatus. The practical tasks seem to us to be the following: 

'--) The immediate appointment of Selivachev as the Commander of the Southern Front. 

"2) Selivachev's post must be assumed by Yegorov, the assistant Commander of the Southern Front. 

"3) Rush reserves including the 21st Division towards Kursk, in the footsteps of Mamontov. 

"4) Deploy the Ninth Army from the Novorossisk sector towards Starobelsk. 

"5) If possible, to transfer Budenny's corps to the right center. 

"6) Rush effective replacements and supplies for the Eighth and Thirteenth Armies. 

"Number 364. September 6, 1919. 

"Trotsky, SerebriakoV, Lashevich." 

In other words, Trotsky made the effort to obtain the acceptance of his plan, no longer a priori but on the 
basis of the experience of two to three months of fighting. 

Here is the reply of the Political Bureau, undersigned by Lenin: 

"Orel. To Trotsky, Serebriakov, Lashevich. 

"The Political Bureau having considered the telegram of Trotsky, Serebriakov and Lashevich has 
confirmed the reply of the Chief Command and expresses its surprise at the attempts to reconsider the 
adopted basic strategic plan. September 6, 1919. By the instructions of the Political Bureau, Lenin." 

As we see, the C.C. - and where was Stalin at the time? - even in that period still supported the 
operating plan of the Staff. It was only the subsequent failures (the surrender of Orel, and the threat to 
Tula) that forced a review of the plan, in the sense of transferring the main blows in the Donetz direction. 
In this period, i.e., when experience had already denninstrated the erroneousness of the old plan which 
was renounced even by the Staff itself, Stalin, too, grasped the mistake that had been committed. 



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Voroshilov quotes Stalin's letter but omits the date it was sent. That was, of course, done deliberately. 
Had he given the date, Voroshilov would have been unable to ascribe the plan to Stalin. As we shall 
shortly prove, Stalin's letter was sent several months after the question of the two plans had first arisen. 
Voroshilov writes: "As regards operating direc tives, he [Stalin] was offered the old plan (that of Septem 
ber) of dealing the main blow, etc. ..." With this statement Voroshilov exposes himself completely. In 
the first place, if during the period of Stalin's creative work on "planning" at the Southern Front, the 
"September" (?) plan was already an "old" plan, then it is quite self-evident that all of the above took 
place after September, Le.y already after Trotsky had raised the question of reconsidering the plan for the 
second time (see document on p. 223). In the second place, the erroneous plan was adopted not in 
September but two months earlier, so that there had never existed such a thing as the "September" plan. 
In September there was only a reajfirma tion of the previously adopted plan of the Chief Command (see 
Lenin's reply to the telegram of Trotsky, Lashevich and Serebriakov). As we have already stated, Trotsky 
fought against the adoption of the plan of the Chief Command as early as July and August, at a time 
when Stalin was with the majority of the Political Bureau. Furthermore, at the beginning of September, 
Trotsky tried again — this time on the basis of a number of conclusions drawn from experience itself — to 
obtain reconsideration of the plan. Stalin remained as hitherto in favor of-the erroneous plan. And it was 
only later that Stalin proceeded to the "revaluation of values." There is an indirect proof that the date of 
Stalin's letter must be assigned to October or November 1919, namely, Stalin concludes his 
well-publicized letter with "threats" of resignation. We have already cited above the reply of the C.C. on 
this score ("absolutely impermissible," etc.). This reply is dated November 14; therefore the deduction is 
that Stalin must have written his letter of criticism, sometime early in November, and hardly prior to that 
time, i.e., after a delay of some three or four months. Voroshilov, on the other hand, after a delay of ten 
years, asserts on the basis of this letter that "Stalin's [??] plan was accepted by the Central Committee." 
That is how history is being "refreshed" ! 

Having disposed of the two "general" falsifications, we pass on to the petty falsifications of Voroshilov. 

Citing the telegram of the Military Council of the Southern Front for November 11, 1919, to the Supreme 
Military Coun cil of the Republic with the request to affirm the organization of the First Cavalry Army, 
Voroshilov adds the following comment: "The Cavalry Army was created despite and even against the 
center." In the first place, what "center" is this? 

Always equivocations! Is it the Political Bureau? or the Chief Command? or Lenin? or Trotsky? In the 
second place, if the "center" was against the organization of the First Cavalry, why did it have to affirm 
the decision of the Military Council of the Southern Front? So far as Trotsky is personally concerned, if 
we take the question in its broadest aspects, i.e., the timely realization of the role of cavalry in the 
manouvre-operations of a civil war, then it is sufficient to refer to a slogan, popular in its time, which 
was raised by comrade Trotsky (incidentally, long before the telegram adduced by Voroshilov): 
"Proletarians, to horse!" Under this same title, comrade Trotsky published an article which likewise 
posed the question of large scale bodies of cavalry. One of the main tasks of the "armored train" (of the 
Chairman of the Military Council) in that period was the creation of the cavalry. It would not be 
inappropriate to recall that the closest collaborator of Trotsky's secretariat, I. M. Poznansky, formed 
fighting mounted detachments during that period. But Poznansky himself cannot say anything, because 
he is kept under lock and key by Stalin-Voroshilov. 

Further on, as one of the instances of Stalin's "rescue" expeditions to the "most dangerous places," 
Voroshilov informs us of Stalin's journey to the Caucasian front which ever took place. Ludicrous as it 



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Stalin School of Falsification - Chapter 13 

may seem, this is a fact! Stalin, you see, did not take the trip only because of "illness." Illness is a 
weighty reason, but we are rather inclined to think that "capriciousness" had something to do with this 
incident, and for the following reason: A week after Stalin's trip, which "rescued" even though it never 
took place, Stalin sent the following telegram in reply to Lenin's demand that he take emergency 
measures in order to speed up the transfer of two divisions to the Caucasian Front: 

"Moscow. Kremlin. To Lenin; copy to the C.C. of the Party. 

"I am not quite clear as to why the chief concern about the Caucasian Front falls primarily upon me. The 
strengthening of the Caucasian Front properly and entirely falls upon the Military Council of the 
Republic, the members of which, according to my information, are in good health; it is their concern and 
not that of Stalin who is overburdened with work as it is. Number 970. February 20, 1920. Stalin." 

Here is what Lenin replied to him: 

"The concern of speeding up the arrival of re-enforcements from the Southwestern Front to the 
Caucasian Front has been placed on you. It is generally necessary to give a! ! pos sible assistance and not 
to bicker about departmental jurisdiction. No. 87/3. Lenin." 

How characteristic of Stalin is this tone of petty intrigue and personal grievance! How characteristic of 
Lenin is his tone of restrained indignation! The decuments speak for themselves. And we observe how 
eloquent is their language. 

It goes without saying that the man whom the party always really did send to the most difficult sectors 
(as a mat ter of fact that was real!y his "job") was not at all Stalin. Here are a few brief excerpts from 
Lenin's telegrams: 

"August 22, 1918. Sviazhsk. To Trotsky. Treason on the Saratov Front, though discovered in time, has 
neverthe less produced extremely dangerous vacillations. We consider your going there at once 
absolutely indispensable, for your appearance at the front has an effect on soldiers and the entire army. . . 
. Lenin, Sverdlov." 

"April 10, 1919. To Trotsky. Nizhni Novgorod. 

"In view of the extremely grave situation on the Eastern Front I think it is mo-^t expedient for you to 
remain there. Lenin." 

"May 7, 1919. Shikhrana. To Trotsky. I have just con suited the Political Bureau of the C.C, and in 
agreement with the Bureau I am in favor of your immediate and speed iest departure to Kharkov, where 
it is urgent to put an end to disorganization and tc give immediate aid to the Donetz Basin. Lenin." 

"May 15, 1919. Kupyansk. To Trotsky. 

"Extremely pleased by the energetic measures by which the uprising was crushed. . . . Lenin." 

"Maybe I would insist personally on your going to Bogachur once again, in order to complete the 
crushing of the uprising, otherwise there is no hope for victory. Lenin." 

(24 hours later) "May 22, 1919.... I insist again on your going without fail a second time to Bogachur and 
putting an end to the matter, because it is obvious that Sokolnikov can not handle the situation. Lenin." 



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And here is Trotsky's reply: 

"Kharkov-Lugansk (en route). To Moscow. To Sklyansky for Lenin. Leaving for Bogachur, and will try 
to bring the matter to an end there. Trotsky. May 22, 1919." 

Such are the facts. Similar /ac?^' can be adduced to any number! That Voroshilov today has to "refresh" 
inventions only proves that despite everything these facts are still too fresh in the memory of the party. 



NOTES: 

61. See, "The Military Opposition," chap. XXXVI of Mj Life, by Leon Trotsky, pp. 486-450, for an 
analysis of the "Tsaritsin" group led by Stalin, Voroshilov, Dybenko and others. [BACK TO TEXT1 



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Stalin School of Falsification - Chapter 14 

Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School Of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

The March 1917 Party Conference 
FOREWORD 

THE ALL-RUSSLAN CONFERENCE of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies was convened 
at the end of March 1917. Simultaneously with this Conference the Bureau of the Bolshevik central 
Committee issued a call for the All-Russian Conference of party workers for March 28, the first one held 
after the February revolution. 

The agenda planned for the Conference was as follows: 

1) Local reports. 

2) Report of the Bureau of the central Committee. 

3) S.D.L.P.R. and the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies. 

4) The attitude towards the Provisional Government. 

5) The attitude to the war. 

6) The organization of the counter-revolutionary forces 
and the struggle against the counter-revolution. 

7) Preparation for the Constituent Assembly. 

8) The Agrarian question. 

9) The Eight-Hour day. 

The following organizations and comrades took part in the conference: 



Organization 


Names of Delegates 


1) Archangel 


Mary an Verzhhitsky* 


2) Alexandrovsk-Gruschevsk 


P. V. Novov-Okhlonin* 


3) Almaznaya 


Daineko 


4) Baku 


Ter-Gabryelan* 


5) Voronezh 


Komissarov 


6) V. Volochek 


V. F. Sokolov* 


7) Vitebs 


J. AboHn 







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Stalin School of Falsification - Chapter 14 



8) Vologda 


Shalva Zurab Eliava & 

Ivan A. Sammer ' 


9) Vyborg 


Panshin* 


10) Gamel 


P. N. Sevruk* 


11) Helsingfors-Sviborg 


S. A. Garin* 


12) Grozny 


Bogdanov* & H. E. Bugai"^ 


13) Ekaterinodar 


A. A. Limansky"^ 


14) Ekaterinoslav 


G. V. Golovko* 


15) Ekaterinburg 


L. S. Sosnovsky & P. Bykov8 


16) Enakievo (Petrovsky 
mines and mills) 


Speransky"^ & K. P. Susenkov* 


17) Ivanov-Voznesensk 


Vera A. Karovaikova 


18) Irkutsk 


Peter I. Starostin* & Robert J. Dukur* 


19) Kiev 


Maximilian A. Saveliev* & Alexandrov 


20) Kostroma 


Leonid P. Serebnakov*, Vassili A. Krapivin & 
Nicolai I. Vorobiev 


21) Kursk 


Alexander N. Grigoriev 


22) Kenavino 


S. Levitt 


23) Kronstadt 


Uliantsev 


24) Krasnoyarsk 


Teodorovich* 


25) Lozovaya 


Teploukhov"^ 


26) Lysivensky Factory 


Savchenko*, Danilenko 


27) Moscow 


Victor P. Nogin'^^. N. Ignatov"^ 


28) Minsk 


Boris P. Pozern*,Yakhontov 


29) Novgorod 


lonov 


30) Morshansk 


Nicolai A. Skrypnik* 


31) Minyarsk (Ufa Goubernia) 


Vakhterov* 


32) Nikolayev 


Nicolai M. Maadelstam*, Alexander G. 
Ovchinniko, S.L Kanatchikov*, Adolf Klepner* 


34) Nikitovka 


Jacob Grosfin*, N. Akimov"^ 


35) Odessa 


Ocbkanov* 


36) Omsk 


Peter A. Kravtsov 


37) Poltava 


Drobnis 


38) Revel 


L E. Kuzmin*, A. Balevsky 



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39) Rostov-on-the-Don 


Vassilchenko 


40) Samara 


N. Teplov, Gersimov*, Robert Bauza 


41) Saratov 


M. I. Vassihev* ,V. P. Miliutin , K. I. Plaxin 


42) Syzran 


N. D. Vozdvizhensky* 


43) Sormovo 


Nicolai E. Miroshin 


44) Simferopol 


T. Fedoseyev*, T. Kravchenko* 


45) Tomsk 


Ivan N. Smirnov*, Nakhanovich"^ 


46) Taganro 


Paul M. Berman* 


47) Tula 


Nikita G. Brigadirov 


48) Ufa 


Boris M. Eltsia* 


49) Kharkov 


Gregory A. Romano vich* 


50) Kherson 


Ivan F. Sorokin 


51)Tsaritsin 


Weinzweig*, Sergei K. Minin, D. A. 
Sagareishvili 


52) Chelyabinsk 


S. M. Tsvilling 


58) Seherbinovka 


Nahum Dubovoi"^ 


54) Yuriev 


A. K. Rozov 


55) Yaroslavl 


Ivan I. Korotkov 


56) Stavropol-Kavkaz 


Vassili, F. Tolstov 


57) Petropavlovsk 


Alexander M. Povolotsky 


58) 180th Regiment 


Kutuzov 



* The asterisk denotes those participants who were delegates to the Soviet Conference. 

In addition to those listed above, the following organizations whose delegates failed to report to the 
Secretariat participated in the Conference 

1) Kamyshlova 

2) Valka 

8) Petrovska 

4) Narvy 

5) 1st Reserve Infantry 

6) 1 12th Infantry Regiment 

7) 729th Infantry Regiment 

Present from the Central Committee were Stalin, Helena D. Stassova, Vyacheslav M. Molotov, 
Shliapnikov, Peter A. Zalutsky 

Participating personally were Ivan T. Smilga Stuchka, member of the G. F. Fedorov Latvian Central 
Committee 



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Stalin School of Falsification - Chapter 14 

M. S. Olminsky A. I. Elizarova KoUontai, member of the Finnish C.C. 

Present from the Petrograd Committee were Leon M. Mikhailov, Badayev, Vladimir N. Zalezhsky, 
Yakovlenko (Sergei) Bagdatiev, Enukidze, Boki Epstein,Shagov Krestinsky, Goloschekin 

The sessions were first held at the Kshesinskaia Palace and later transferred to the Tauride Palace, in the 
gallery. 

The original protocols were destroyed by Kerensky's gangs during the July days in a raid on the 
Kshesinskaia Palace, at that time the headquarters of the Central Committee of our party. 

Fortunately, I have preserved the original drafts of the protocols and the records of the sessions, with the 
exception of the sessions for March 27 and March 28, when the war question was under discussion. From 
these documents it was possible to restore the protocols of the sessions. 

These records do not of course represent stenographic minutes — our small party, poor in resources, did 
not even dare dream of such luxury at that time. These are merely notes as taken down during the 
sessions; and they are more or less complete, depending upon the individual peculiarities of the particular 
speaker (the speed and lucidity of his deliv ery, etc.). In any case, there is nothing in them that is 
"personally interpolated." Everything in the notes represents an exact, even though incomplete, 
reproduction of what the speakers said.-L. T. 

SESSION OF MARCH 2% 1917 

Chairman: comrade Nogin. 

Secretaries: comrades Boki and Drabkina. 

The order of the day: The question of the attitude toward the Provisional Government. 

After the session was called to order, all the delegates of the Conference were divided into sections in 

accordance with the projected Conference of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. 

Soldiers' Section: comrades Pozern, Borisov, Shashkin, Vengerov, Panshin, Verzhbitsky, I. N. Smirnov, 

Ter-Gahrye Ian, Klepner, Syrkin, Shklovsky, Paderin, Garin, Serebriakov. 

Workers' Section: comrades Starostin, Vassiliev, Kanat chikoy, Kravtsov, Okhlonin, Ter-Gabryelan, 

Speransky, Sos novsky, Yakhontov, Romanovich, Nakhanovich, Sammer, Sorokin. 

OrUanizational Section: comrades Sevruk, Saveliev, Skryp nik, Pozern, Mandelstam. 

Section of Local Affairs: comrades Dukur, Teploukhov, Tsvilling, Drobnis. 

Agrarian Section: comrades Romanovich, Miliutin, V P. Lebed. 

Mandate Commission: comrades Sevruk, Skrypnik. 

The resolution of the Priesidium of the Soviet Conference dealing with the manner in which the work 

would be divided was read: At 6 P.M. elections to the Mandate Commission; division into sections; 

report by Tseretelli. 

Reporters: On War-Tseretelli; On the Organization of Power-S teklov. 

DELEGATE: Has an agreement been reached on the ques tion of reporters? 

NOGIN: Proposes that the representatives of the various sections come to an agreement on the question 

of the speakers. 

SKRYPNIK: Proposes to suggest to the representatives of all factions that they insist on co-reports. 

ON THE ATTITUDE TO THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT 

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Report by Comrade Stalin. 

STALIN: The Russian Revolution unfolded not under ordinary circumstances, but against the 
background of the imperialist war. This fact has left a peculiar mark on the development of the 
revolution. Due to the fact of the war, the revolutionary crisis, aggravated by a food crisis, was resolved 
very rapidly. Owing to the war, the army has played a r61e which it never played in any other revolution 
due to the fact that the entire adult population was mobilized and that the army joined the insurrectionary 
people. Due to the fact of the war, Czarism has been isolated even from imperialist bourgeois circles. 
Czarism, by its betrayals, repelled the bourgeoisie from itself. Even the imperialist circles of the West, 
England and France, turned their backs on Czarism, because they wanted to have at the head of the 
Russian gov ernment people capable of waging the war to the end. There are four forces in the 
revolution. The two basic ones are the workers and the soldiers. And, in addition, there are two 
secondary ones: the imperialist circles, both our own and the Anglo-French. These forces, having united, 
prepared the soil for such an easy and rapid overthrow of Czarism. But since the forces are 
heterogeneous, therefore their aims are likewise heterogeneous. The tops, the bourgeoisie, both our own 
and those of Western Europe, have united in order to effect a change in the decorative scenery; they have 
united in order to replace one Czar by another. They wanted an easy revolution, like the Turkish, with 
very little freedom, so as to wage the war. A tiny revolution for a big victory. But the lower ranks-the 
workers and the soldiers-have deepened the revolution, having destroyed the props of the old system. 
Thus, it is as if we had two currents-one from below, the other from abovo-which have brought forward 
two govern ments, two forces: 1) the Provisional Government, supported by Anglo-French capitalism; 2) 
the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The power has been divided between two Organs, of 
which neither one possesses full power. There is and there ought to be friction and struggle between 
them. The roles have been divided. The Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies has in fact taken the 
initiative in effecting revolutionary transformations. The Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies is the 
revolutionary leader of the insurrec tionary people; an organ of control over the Provisional Gov 
ernment. On the other hand, the Provisional Government has in fact taken the r61e of fortifier of the 
conquests of the revolutionary people. The Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Dep uties mobilizes the 
forces and exercizes control, while the Provisional Government, balking and muddling, takes the role of 
the fortifier of those conquests by the people which they have already seized as a fact. Such a situation 
has disadvan tageous, but also advantageous sides. It is not to our advan tage at present to force events, 
hastening the process of repelling the bourgeois layers, who will in the future inevitably withdraw from 
us. It is necessary for us to gain time by put ting a brake on the splitting away of the middle-bourgeois 
layers so that we may prepare ourselves for the struggle against the Provisional Government. But such a 
situation will not endure endlessly. The revolution is deepening. From the political questions there will 
be a transition to the social questions. The social demands will cause the middle-bourgeois layers to split 
away. 

It is silly to think that it will be possible to bring the revolution to its completion without a split with the 
bourgeoisie. When that time comes, in so far as the split grows, the Provisional Government will become 
transformed from an organ for fortifying the conquests of the revolution into an organ for organizing the 
counter-revolution. A strug gle is already being conducted against the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies; an agitation is being carried on against it among the troops. Clashes are beginning to occur 
over the questions of the [loyalty] oath, the democratization of the army, the change of the Supreme 
Commanding Staff. The mobilization of the counter-revolutionary forces has as its banner: "War to a 
victorious conclusion I" This offensive is being carried on not only from within but also from without — 



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from the side of England and France. Their semi- official organs have launched a veritable offensive 
against the revolution. The offensive against dual power has begun, and in proportion as the revolution 
develops the Provisional Gov ernment must (it must objectively) become transformed into the bulwark of 
counter-revolution, not a Czarist counter-revo lution-we face no danger from that side-but an imperialist 
counter-revolution. To prepare for repelling it-that is our task. In view of this, the question becomes more 
complex. The question of support-let us even allow that support is not permissible. In so far as the 
Provisional Government fortifies the steps of the revolution, to that extent we must support it; but in so 
far as it is counter-revolutionary, sup port to the Provisional Government is not permissible. Many 
comrades who have arrived from the provinces ask whether we shouldn't immediately pose the question 
of the seizure of power. But it is untimely to pose the question now. The Pro visional Government is not 
so weak. The strength of the Provisional Government lies in the support of Anglo-French capitalism, in 
the inertia of the provinces and in the [wide-spread] sympathy for it. It is being showered with telegrams 
[of congratulation]. We must bide our time until the Provisional Government exhausts itself, until the 
time when in the process of fulfilling the revolutionary program it discredits itself. The only organ 
capable of taking power is the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies on an All- Russian scale. We, 
on the other band, must bide our time until the moment when the events will reveal the hollowness of the 
Provisional Government; we must be prepared, when the time comes, when the events have matured, and 
until then we must organize the center-the Soviet of Workers' and Sol diers' Deputies-and strengthen it. 
Therein lies the task of the moment. 

Comrade Stalin reads the resolution on the Provisional Government adopted by the Bureau of the Central 
Committee, but states that he is not in complete agreement with it, but is rather in accord with the 
resolution of the Krasnoyarsk Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. 

THE RESOLUTION OF THE BUREAU OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE 

"The Provisional Government, brought forward by the moderate bourgeois classes of our society and 
linked through all its interests with Angl-French capitalism, is incapable of solving the tasks posed by the 
revolution. Its resistance to the further development and deepening of the revolution is being paralyzed 
only by the growth of the revolutionary forces and their own organizations. The focal point for their 
consolidation must be the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies in the cities and the Soviet of 
Peasants' and Farmhands' Deputies in the country, which, as the embryos of revolutionary power, are 
prepared, in the course of the further development and at a given moment in the develop ment of the 
revolution, to realize in full the power of the proletariat in an alliance with the revolutionary democracy, 
so that the demands of the insurrectionary people may be wholly put into effect. Even at the present 
moment these Soviets should exercize the most decisive control over all the actions of the Provisional 
Government and its agents both in the center and in the provinces; and they should themselves assume a 
number of functions cf state and of an economic character arising from the complete disorganization of 
eco nomic life in the country and from the urgent necessity to apply the most resolute measures for 
safeguarding the famine - stricken population whom war has ruined. Therefore the task of the day is: 
The consolidation of all forces around the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies as the embryo of 
revolutionary power, alone capable both of repelling the attempts on the part of the Czarist and bourgeois 
counter-revolution as well as of realizing the demands of revolutionary democracy and of explaining the 
true class nature of the present government. 



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"The most urgent and important task of the Soviets, the fulfillment of which will alone guarantee the 
victory over all the forces of counter-revolution and the further development and deepening of the 
revolution, is, in the opinion of the party, the universal arming of the people, and, in particular, the 
immediate creation of Workers' Red Guards throughout the entire land." 

RESOLUTION OF THE KRASNOYARSK SOVIET OF WORKERS', SOLDIERS' AND 

COSSACKS' DEPUTIES 

"Whereas 

"1) the revolutionary overturn has been achieved by the working class and the Army representing the 
revolutionary peasantry, 

"2) the Provisional Government expresses the demands of the Russian imperialist belligerent bourgeoisie 
and not the demands of the proletariat and the revolutionary peasantry, 

"3) the clash between the demands of the imperialist hour geosie and the demands of the working class 
and the peasantry in the revolution is inevitable in the future inasmuch as the bourgeoisie will seek to 
defend its own interests against the interests of the working class and the revolutionary peasantry, 

"The Krasnoyarsk Soviet of Workers', Soldiers' and Cossacks' Deputies resolves: 

"1) to recognize as urgent that it be made clear to the broad layers of the working class, the Army and the 
peas antry that the Provisional Government in its composition expresses the interests of the imperialist 
bourgeoisie and not those of the people; that it is incapable of cobperating in carrying the present 
revolution through to the fulfillment of the basic demands of the proletariat and the revolutionary 
peasantry; 

"2) to make entirely clear that the only source of the power and the authority of the Provisional 
Government is the will of the people who have accomplished this revolution and to whom the 
Provisional GovernmeDt is obliged wholly to submit; 

"3) to make likewise clear that the submission of the Pro visional Government to the basic demands of 
the revolution can be secured only by the unrelaxing pressure of the prole tariat, the peasantry and the 
revolutionary Army, who must with unremitting energy maintain their organization around the Soviets of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies born out of the revolution, in order to transform the latter into the ter 
rible force of the revolutionary people; 

"4) to support the Provisional Government in its activ ities only in so far as it follows a course of 
satisfying the demands of the working ejass and the revolutionary peasantry in the revolution that is 
taking place." 

The resolution of the Moscow District Committee is next read. It was not among the documents. 

VOITINSKV (co-reporter) : Leaving aside the contradic tions, all three resolutions express one and the 
same view of the Provisional Government: The monarchist Guchkov arrests the monarch; the monarchist 
Miliukov becomes a member of the republican Provisional Government. Among the members of the 

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Provisional Government there is not a single supporter of the Constituent Assembly with the exception 
of Kerensky — but notwithstanding this, it organizes the Constituent Assembly. While being 
counter-revolutionary to the core, being counter-revolutionary in all respects - in the program of the 
parties represented in it, and in their aims — it is never theless revolutionary in its activities. The 
contradicticn between its counter-revolutionary nature and its revolution ary activities is a basic 
contradiction. The reporter has called our attention to the support of Anglo-French capital ism. But that is 
absolutely wrong. Recall the almost threat ening tone of Buchanan's speech: We will support you only to 
the extent that you fulfill the promises of the Czarist gov ernment. Recall the speeches of Bonar Law and 
others in the House of Commons. Anglo-French capitalism is protest ing, of course, not against Miliukov 
and not against the Government but against its activities. They are in sympathy with the Government but 
they are opposed to its activities and they demand that "an end be put to agitation," in the guise of the 
Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. All the sympathies of the parties that have formed the Provi 
sional Government were inclined not to the side of participat ing in the revolution but of resisting it. The 
Octorbists and the Cadets took no part in the revolution, remaining counter-revolutionists, till the 
moment when the revolution con quered. The Provisional Government received the power from the 
hands of the people. The Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies could have refused to recognize it — 
and it would never have come into existence. But I ask, why then are the counter-revolutionary forces 
fulfilling the work of the revolution? Why didn't the revolutionary democracy take power into its own 
hands instead of passing it into the hands of the moderate and liberal bourgeoisie? The answer to the 
second question will at the same time provide an answer to the first. 

It is as clear as noonday that to take the power into our own hands at the moment when it was possible to 
realize the dictatorship of the democracy would have meant to ruin the bourgeois democratic revolution. 
The proletariat would have been unable to cope with the anarchy. The revolutionary proletariat halted at 
the threshold and transferred the power into other hands. We had no revolutionary democratic bourgeois 
parties in our country. It was impossible for the social ists to take the power into their own hands. Only 
one thing remained - to hand the power over to the moderate elements, but on the condition that they 
fulfill a revolutionary program inimical to themselves. The Cadet-Monarchists were attached to the 
republican Government. They are fulfilling, with hatred towards us, and without disguising their hatred, 
our revolutionary program. It was thus that there arose this incongruity between the activities and the 
inner essence of the Provisional Government which we are now witnessing. The Government is in its 
majonty comprised of moderate hour geois layers, but it received the power from the hands of the 
revolutionary people, after it had pledged to the latter to fulfill the revolutionary program of the people - 
to destroy the monarchy, to convene the Constituent Assembly, to democratize autonomous local rule, 
etc. But precisely because of this internal contradiction there must be control on the part of the Soviet of 
Workers' Deputies. So long as this control exists, it [the Government] will put the program into effect. It 
[the Government] does not want to solve, but under the control of the revolutionary democracy it is able 
to solve problems of the revolution. The Cadets and the Octobrists turned to the Soviet of Workers' 
Deputies with the request: "Give us Ministers." It is objectively inevitable for the power to pass from the 
less revolutionary into the more revolutionary hands, but this transfer will be effected grad ua]ly, through 
the resignation of the more moderate Ministers and their replacement by more radical ones, but not in a 
revolutionary way through their violent overthrow. I ask you to consider attentively the following detail: 
Miliukov came with the slate of Ministers to the Soviet of Workers' Deputies for confirmation; the threat 
of resignation was likewise submitted to the Soviet, that is to say, they turned to the Soviet in very much 
the same way as is usually done in the case of monarchs in the countries of constitutional monarchy. It is 
not true that the Soviet is an embryo of power. The Soviet is the power, dictating its own terms, while the 

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Provisional Government is a clerk of the Soviet. It is impossible for us to take the power entirely into our 
own hands under the bourgeois system. 

While recognizing the counter-revolutionary essence of the Provisional Government we must at the same 
time recognize that it is fulfilling revolutionary work. We must support each and every revolutionary step 
on its part and fight against any of its attempts to evade control, viewing that as a betrayal of and as 
mutiny against democracy. But in the meantime our task is to organize the forces, to prepare for the 
transfer of power into our own hands. Therefore not the Red Guard, but the attraction to us of the Army, 
the fulfill ment of the socialist program, the preparation for the trans fer of power into our hands - these 
are our immediate tasks. 

SAVELIEV: Comrade Stalin has pointed out absolutely cor rectly the meaning of the r61e of the 
bourgeoisie in the present war and of the position occupied by the proletariat. It is impossible to agree 
with comrade Voitinsky that Anglo- French capitalism has played no r61e. To be sure, it did not expect 
the revolution to attain such a sweep. The revolu tionary democracy mixed all the cards. The paths of the 
imperialist bourgeoisie and of the revolutionary democracy momentarily crossed each other. Due to 
entirely different reasons, to entirely different motives, the two forces criss crossed in such a manner as 
to coincide during the moment of the overthrow of the autocracy. In any case, having crossed, having 
taken to this path, the Russian bourgeoisie has had to follow in the wake of the proletariat, Le.y it found 
the path already closed to any compromise with the autocracy that was in process of liquidation. It made 
the pretense of join ing the insurrectionary people. But why did we get such a situation? Because the 
relation of forces in the country was not such as wooud allow the dictatorship of the proletariat. 

Comrade Saveliev moves the following resolution for adoption: 

"1) Whereas the Provisional Government brought forward by the moderate bourgeois classes had 
to take upon itself the fulfillment of a number of demands advanced by the insur rectionary people; 

"2) this Provisional Government is incapable of solving all the tasks which have been posed by the 
present revolution; 

"3) the concentration of the revolutionary forces and the focal point of their consolidation are the 
Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies-in the cities, together with the Soviets of Peasants' and 
Farmhands' Deputies now being organized in the villages-as the organs of revolutionary power; 

"4) in the subsequent development of the process, and at a certain point of this development, the 
revolution will realize the full measure of the power of the proletariat in an alliance with the 
democratic section of the peasantry and the revolutionary Army for the full realization of the 
demands of the insurrectionary people, 

"We recognize that at the present moment it is necessary: 

"1) to maintain unrelaxing control over the Provisional Government and to conduct a struggle 
against all inclina tions on its part to manifest its counter-revolutionary tendencies; 

"2) to consolidate all the forces around the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies — as the 
organs of revolu tionary power which are alone capable both of repelling the attempts of the 
Czarist and bourgeois counter-revolution as well as of realizing the demands of the revolutionary 
democ racy; and 



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"3) to clarify the true class nature of the present Government." 

GARIN: I do not believe, comrades, that there is anybody here who would agitate for undermining the 
confidence in the Provisional Government in so far as its activity is directed toward the benefit of the 
people. But naturally we must issue a declaration to the effect that the revolution has been accomplished 
by the people, that the Provisional Govern ment has given the people an I.O.U. which it must pay. But if 
it should fail to fulfill its obligations, then the people will demand not only full payment, but collect the 
interest too. 

The Helsingfors Committee of the S.D.L.P.R. has adopted the following resolution: 

"To support the Provisional Government, in so far as it fulfills its obligations as proclaimed to the whole 
nation, and so long as the Provisional Government is inclined to follow the path of the revolutionary 
conquests for the benefit of Free Russia. While so doing, we, social democrats, must use all means to 
eliminate among the people those trivial demands which prior to the convocation of the Constituent 
Assembly might raise a wall between the people and the Provisional Government." 

MILIUTIN: We are all agreed that the Provisional Government is counter-revolutionary in essence. Then 
why are there disagreements on the question of our attitude toward it? Voitinsky says that the Provisional 
Government is bourgeois, but that it received the power from the hands of the people and is carrying 
through the people's program. The power is in our hands and we must give active support to the Govern 
ment in carrying through the measures aimed to fortify the conquests of the revolution. Stalin, on the 
other hand, speaks of the broadening of the tasks of the revolution. The difference lies not in the 
conclusions but in the tactics. We proceed from different basic assumptions. Voitinsky has caught the 
technical side but missed the socio-political side. The fact that the Provisional Government submitted the 
ministerial slate is meaningless. Our revolution is not only a political but also a social revolution. A 
government consisting of the rep resentatives of the bourgeoisie is therefore counter-revolu tionary. The 
most important things that the Provisional Government must realize are: the war question, the social 
questions. In this sphere we can place no confidence in it. We must extend and fortify the conquests of 
the revolution but not solidarize with the steps of the Provisional Government. 

STAROSTIN: Voitinsky has missed the social side of the revolution, hut he has grasped the political 
side. What has compelled the Provisional Government to take the power into its hands? The fear lest it 
lose the possibility of attaining its imperialist plans. On the other hand, the working class was unable at 
that time to advance its own slate, and we our selves didn't know what was going to happen. Petrograd 
could not sit and wait for a number of Vendees. Had we known here that the whole of Russia would join 
in, then per haps we might have taken power into our own hands. 

An offensive against democracy is already in progress. Noroye Vrema writes that the soldiers have to 
stay in the trenches 24 hours at a stretch, but the workers are introduc ing the eight-hour day. In some 
places, outright pogrom agitation is being conducted. It is necessary to make a defi nite declaration as to 
the extent of our support to the Provisional Government. The speaker is not in agreement with the point 
on the "Red Guard." This might be construed as mistrust of the Red Army and engender discord. If the 
revolutionary Army does not back us up, then dozens of Red Guard detachments will not be able to 
accomplish anything. Our task therefore must be to do our utmost to strengthen our influence on the 
revolutionary Army. 

GOLOSCHEKIN: Should the Provisional Government take revolutionary steps-for instance, proclaim 
the confiscation of the lands- we will support it. But we cannot vote it com plete confidence. Everybody 

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is agreed that the Provisional Government is counter-revolutionary both in its personnel and in its 
essence. Under the pressure of the masses it is acccmplishing revolutionary tasks, and to this extent, it 
intrenches itself. We must not overlook that the masses are saying that the Provisional Government has 
done everything. Voitinsky envisions a parliamentary method of the struggle for power! The government 
will depart of its own accord, and no struggle for power will be necessary. We forget that for the time 
being it is hiding its claws, and we ourselves are strengthening it. If we want to struggle against the 
counter revolution, we must aim for the seizure of power, but without forcing events. How? By grouping 
around the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies so that gradually the Soviet assumes all functions, 
and dominates all spheres of activity. It is necessary to teach the people to see that they are getting 
everything from the Soviet. 

The speaker concludes with a proposal to proclaim an All- National Militia. 

VASSILIEV: We all have the same attitude to the Provi sional Government. But that is not the task of 
the moment. On the agenda is the creation of a revolutionary provisional government. Having 
accomplished the revolution, the people have created the Provisional Government, but this govern ment 
is non-revolutionary not because Miliukov and Guchkov sit in it-no; even if they should go away-the 
others likewise will not prove any more revolutionary. Our task, therefore, is to prepare a revolutionary 
government. All government consists of executive and controlling power. We have an organ of 
revolutionary control in the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, but the executive power has not 
yet been created among us. The longer it exists, the more powerful the Provisional Government will 
become, for at its disposal are enormous resources, the entire state machinery. Our task is the formation 
of a provisional revolutionary parliament which will put forth executive power. There must be created as 
quickly as possible a permanent organ comprised of the representatives of the proletariat and of the 
revolutionary Army of all Russia which would function as the provisional revolutionary parliament up to 
the convocation of the Con stituent Assembly. The Provisional Government must be viewed as the 
executive organ of the Provisional Revolution ary Parliament. It must not initiate a single important 
measure without the knowledge and approval of the Provisional Revolutionary Parliament. The 
Provisional Revolutionary Parliament must be empowered to issue, in agreement with the Provisional 
Government, decrees on all vital questions. 

Such a correlation between the Provisional Government and the Provisional Revolutionary Parliament 
would deci sively do away with the question of dual power. 

Will we go there? — In 1905, we said that we will partici pate in a revolutionary government. There can 
be talk not of giving support but of subordinating the Provisional Gov ernment to the Provisional 
Revolutionary Parliament. 

The speaker proposes the following draft resolution: 

"1) Placing above all else the international solidarity of the working class, we heartily hail and 
support the Manifesto of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies to the people of 
the whole world, and its appeal to all pro letarians that they put an end to imperialism and to the 
debauch of predatory passions in their own respective coun tries, and that they cotiperate with 
might and main for the most rapid termination of the bloody slaughter. Only the peoples 
themselves can conclude an honest and a stable peace. 

"2) Revolutionary democratic Russia does not seek an inch of foreign soil, or a penny of foreign 
property. But not an inch of our own soil or a penny of our own property can be taken away from 

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US. The fate of disputed regions, the fate of oppressed nationahties in all belligerent countries and 
in the entire world must be left to the free decision of the subject nationalities. No annexations, no 
contributions, and the free self-determination of all nations-that is our plat form of peace! 

"3) Considering that the European war, which has con vulsed the socio-economic life of the entire 
terrestrial globe, has been engendered by the predatory urge of the rulers in all countries; and that 
the earliest possible termination of this war which is ruining the best forces and the culture of the 
states involved in it will be in the interests of the prole 

tariat and the democracy of the whole world, we urge the Provisional Government to turn both to 
the Allies as well as their foes with a proclamation to open peace negotiations on the above- stated 
basis. 

"4) But so long as peace is not concluded we must stand fully armed; and in guarding the interests 
of new democratic Russia we must increase tenfold our efforts, for we are now defending our 
budding liberties. The revolutionary army must be powerful and unconquerable. It must be 
provided by the workers and by the Provisional Government with everything necessary to 
strengthen its forces. Discipline in the ranks, being the necessary condition of an army's strength, 
must be sustained not out of fear but out of free will, and based upon mutual confidence between 
the demo cratic officer staff and the revolutionary soldiers. 

"5) If the summons of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, and our revolution 
find an echo in the midst of the European proletariat and democracy, if in Western Europe a 
revolution breaks out against predatory capitalism, we will support our international comrades 
with all our might, and we will struggle for a social revolution." 

SKRYPNIK: What is understood by the term "support"? So far as I was able to gather, everybody said 
that the Provi sional Government has been undertaking these or those revo lutionary measures under the 
pressure of the revolutionary proletariat. But this is not the support of the Government but of those 
measures which we ourselves demanded and which it has been putting into effect. On the other hand, the 
question of support obviously has another meaning, namely not the support of measures, but a 
declaration of confidence in it [the Government] before the eyes of Russia, and the rest of the world. We 
cannot extend such confidence to it. The Government is not fortifying but checking the course of the 
revolution. For instance, let us take the replacement of the old power. The Government has replaced it, 
but in a half hearted manner in order to restrain the further development of the revolution. It has 
transferred power to the local city administrations and the representatives of Zemstvos, entrust ing power 
not to the revolution but to those elements that were mobilizing for counter-revolution. On the war 
question, it has prepared a loop-hole for itself; on the agrarian ques tion-it has not solved it, but declares 
that it is preparing measures for its solution. In view of this, we will support the measures introduced by 
the Government in the interests of the revolution, hut we will not declare confidence in it. 

YAKHONTOY: In speaking of the Provisional Government, it is necessary to bear in mind the 
Government as it exists at the present moment. We should not prejudge what it will become. Comrade 
Stalin is correct in saying that the Provi sional Government fortifies the conquests of the revolution. We 
are accustomed to look at events objectively. From the objective standpoint- it [the Government] is 
revolutionary. It is the captive of the revolution. While being counter revolutionary in essence, it 
convokes the Constituent Assem bly, it replaces the old ruling power, in short, it clears the path for the 
revolution. Everybody speaks of the counter revolutionary nature of the Government but nobody adduces 

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facts to prove its counter-revolutionary activity. In speaking of the attitude to the Government, we are 
concerned not with an expression of confidence but with the support of measures aimed to fortify the 
conquests of the revolution. 

Those who talk about the immediate replacement of the Government forget one thing. The war has called 
forth devas tation, and there are no objective forces able to direct the mechanism. Had the democracy 
taken power in its own hands, it would have meant the defeat of the revolution. The democ racy must 
strive to this, that it prepare itself for the moment when it will take power into its own hands. But striving 
toward this new power, it must support the Provisional Government. 

SEVRUK: Comrade Miliutin has correctly pointed out that the divergence between the resolutions 
presented by the Bureau and by comrade Voitinsky is conditioned upon dif ferent principled postulates. 
In the resolution of the Bureau no mention is made of the support of the Provisional Govern ment. But 
what does it generally say about the attitude to the Provisional Government? It speaks of what not to do; 
the conclusions must be read between the lines; but that is not enough for a political program. Some say: 
How to sup port the Government? The answer to that is contained in our party program: "To support 
every oppositionist step directed to . . . etc." I agree with Miliutin that Voitinsky has overlooked the 
socio-political side. The final point in Voitin sky's resolution must be amplified in two directions: (1) to 
mobilize the forces around the Soviet, unfolding the agitation for the struggle against the 
counter-revolutionary propa ganda aimed at the Soviet; (2) to organize the agitation among the troops on 
the agrarian question. 

KANATCHIKOV: If, as comrade Voitinsky says, the prov inces lagged behind at the moment when the 
Government was formed in Petrograd, then it follows logically that when the provinces have become 
organized, the executive power which does not correspond to the demands of the country must withdraw. 
In such a moment as demands the maximum exer tion of forces, the power not only fails to organize but 
it even puts a brake on the development of the revolution. The execu tive power must be brought into 
harmony with the mood of the country. In the further development of the revolution the power must pass 
to the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies which must be precisely the one to put forth the 
executive power. 

KRESTINSKY: As to practical action there is no disagree ment between Stalin and Voitinsky. We will 
not immediately overthrow the Provisional Government. How do I envisage the current situation of the 
Provisional Government? The Provisional Government is the clerk of the Soviet. At the apex of the 
revolution the supreme organ of power will be the Soviet of Workers' Deputies and Peasants' or Army 
Deputies. As yet-the Soviets are only embryos of power. So long as that power is not organized we will 
tolerate the Pro visional Government, even if it parts company with us. What will happen then? It is 
schematically possible, that the Provisional Government by renewing its personnel will faithfully serve 
us. Then we will not replace it. The most probable initiator of the clash between the present Government 
and the revolutionary people will not be ourselves but the Provisional Government itself, and then we 
shall have to take power into our own hands. Finally, there is a third possible course. When our strength 
grows and we know that the provinces are with us and that they remain uninfluenced by the lure of 
names, we will ourselves assume the offensive. And it is for that moment that we must prepare ourselves. 
The resolution of Voitinsky is far too mild, it does not point out the inevita bility of a clash. It is strange 
to talk of supporting one's own clerk. We must underscore in our resolution that the Provisional 
Government and ourselves represent two hostile forces. 



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SVERDLOV: Introduces a motion to close the discussion, elect a committee and give the floor to the 
reporters for summaries. 

VOITINSKY: Speaks against the motion, inasmuch as he fears that the same thing will happen as with 
the resolution on war. 

Sverdlov's motion is carried. 

The discussion is closed. The reporter and co-reporter are given the floor to sun up. 

VOITINSKY: Comrades have said that in my resolution I paid too much attention to the political side of 
the Govern ment's activity and missed the social side. But those who argued against me overlook that at 
the present moment special legislation is being energetically introduced not in the shape of legal 
enactments but in the shape of agreements with the Soviet and that here the Government under our 
pressure is doing not what it would have liked to do, and that here, too, it is putting our program into 
effect. A vote of confi dence [from the party] cannot be given, but support to it can be shown. We must 
not forget that on various questions the Government will be unable to cope with a whole number of tasks 
facing it. A defeat on the food supply question would be not only a defeat for the Government but also a 
defeat for us, because we, too, will be unable to cope with the disruption of the transport system. We 
need the Government as a technical clerk. We must prepare the apparatus; by entering into all the organs, 
into all the departments. If Petrograd or the Army are left without bread, the indigna tion will be directed 
not against the Provisional Government but against us. Without our support the Government will be 
unable to cope with a number of technical tasks. If you say that you will support certain measures — then 
you must express this in the resolution. You must point out that the moment that the Provisional 
Government steps from under our control and takes counter-revolutionary steps, we will go head on 
against it. But when it fulfills our program, we sup port it. We will come out against it because it betrays 
the revolution. The people must know that we are revolution ary not for the sake of revolution, that we 
have our own program. . 

STALIN: I will speak on the first point which has aroused disagreement. Up to now the revolutionary 
initiative has come from the Soviet. The Soviet of Workers' Deputies has issued declarations, broached 
issues and made threats, while the Provisional Government has balked, struggled only finally to agree. In 
such a situation can one speak of supporting such a Government? One can rather speak of the 
Government supporting us. It is not logical to speak of the support of the Provisional Government, on the 
contrary, it is more proper to speak of the Government not hindering us from putting our program into 
effect. 

The speaker proposes that a resolution which does not sup port the Provisional Government be accepted 
as a basis. The Government is organizing the army, it is arousing the hostil ity of the soldiers against the 
workers, and leaning on the strength of Anglo-French capitalism, it is already Organizing the 
counter-revolution. 

VOITINSKY: Speaks in favor of theses being prepared for the Committee. Is it not necessary to point 
out in the resolu tion that we give support to steps directed toward the development of the revolution? 

(For-38; against-26.) 

Election of a committee to draft the resolution. 



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The following elected: Voitinsky, Miliutin, Stalin, Sammer, Sevmk, Krestinsky, Kamenev, Eliava, 
Teodorovich. 

SESSION OF MARCH 30 

Chairman: Nogin. 

Secretaries: Comrades Boki and Drabkina. 

KAMENEV: Reports that he has entered into negotiations with the internationalist S.R.'s and 
Mensheviks. Inasmuch as it is clear that an absolutely inacceptable resolution of the Executive 
Committee [of the Soviets] will be passed, it is necessary to counterpose to it a joint resolution of the 
inter nationalists. The S.R.'s (22) are a national minority. They 

will not vote against the resolution of the Bolsheviks and will withdraw their resolution. The Mensheviks 
are seeking to introduce a single resolution and are for uniting on a joint resolution. Should factional 
discipline be imposed to compel the minority to submit to the majority, the internationalists will come 
out in favor of our resolution. 

The plan of action is as follows: If we do not obtain a majority, then at least to constitute a compact 
international ist minority. And to vote against the resolution of the Exec utive Committee. After the 
adoption of the resolution of the Executive Committee, to introduce the following four amendments: 

1) The Executive Committee demands of the Provisional Government as its next step that it proclaim 
openly to the whole world the readiness of the peoples of emancipated Russia to enter into peace 
negotiations on the basis of the right of all nations to self-determination without annexations and 
contributions. 

2) The Conference, rejecting all hopes in the secret diplo matic game of the imperialist governments that 
plunged the world into war, proclaims that the Only ally of revolutionary Russia in her struggle for the 
liquidation of the imperialist war is the international proletariat. 

3) Demands from the Provisional Government that it break with secret diplomacy and make public the 
treaties of Czarism, concluded behind the back of the people. 

4) Rejects the principle of class peace, advantageous Only to the bourgeoisie and the landlords who make 
profits out of the war. 

The amendments are intended not for the purpose of improving the resolution but to demonstrate a point 
of view. In Tseretelli's resolution there is no mention of peace, hence insertion: 1) the Conference 
demands from the European governments the open assumption of peace negotiations; 2) makes no 
mention of the only ally in the struggle for peace — the international proletariat; 3) to insert: "Demands a 
break with secret diplomacy"; 4) to add at the end - "Rejects. . . 

VOITINSKY: Considers that the amendments are unques tionably acceptable but proposes that they he 
first intro duced in the Executive Committee, and that all measures be taken to have them accepted there. 
All the comrades who are in agreement with it should vote for the resolution of comrade Kamenev. 

KRASSIKOV: The gist of the matter is not in the amend ments and not in a demonstrative presentation 

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of socialdemocratic slogans, but in the current moment. If we recog nize the Soviets of Deputies as the 
organs that express the will of the people, then the question before us is not the consideration of what 
concrete measures must be taken on this or that issue. If we think that the time has now come to realize 
the dictatorship of the proletariat, then we ought to pose the question that way. We unquestionably have 
the physical force for a seizure of power. I believe that we will have sufficient physical force both in 
Petrograd as well as in other cities. [Comotion in the hall . S houts: 'Not true. "] I was present. 

THE CHAIRMAN (interrupting): The question under dis cussion involves the practical steps for today. 
The question of the dictatorship of the proletariat is not under discussion. 

KRASSINOV (continues): If we do not pose the question that way then ought we to take steps in relation 
to the Provi sional Government which. 

THE CHAIRMAN deprives him of the floor. 

NOGIN: Comrade Voitinsky's declaration that we should act contrary to the customary procedure of 
party organizations is not subject to discussion. We consider our sessions as party sessions, the decisions 
of which are binding on all. 

SEVRUK: Moves that a vote be taken first on the amend ments and then on the resolution. If the 
resolution as amended is adopted, then the other resolutions will not be read. To safeguard against this, 
and to have the battle take place, I propose that the Bureau of the internationalists comes to an agreement 
with the Prasidium, that the vote is taken first as to which one of the resolutions is accepted as the basis. 

As to the question of being bound-all those present are duty bound to submit Eto the majority]. 

B AGDATIEV: If the amendments are not accepted then what will we do? Will we vote for? 
[KAMENEV: Against!] Is that the opinion of comrade Kamenev, or is it the opinion of all the 
internationalists? [KAMENEV: The question was not discussed.] 

SKRYPNIK: Moves to vote on the amendments drafted by the Committee and if they meet with no 
objections, to proceed to a vote without a discussion. 

ELTSIN: So far as the party statutes are concerned, those who are in the minority may abstain at the 
Conference but they cannot vote against the decision. 

A vote is taken as to whether this question should be dis cussed. Defeated by all votes against three. 

Comrade Kamenev' s amendments are put to a vote. 

B AGDATIEV It is necessary to discuss whether we should introduce the amendments at all. 

The majority is against discussion. 

Amendment 1 is voted on. 

VOITINSKY proposes an amendment to the amendment. 

SKRYPXIK: Opposed to amendments as we have before us a compromise platform and any changes 
would require a reconsideration of the whole. 

Motion to accept amendments adopted. 

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QUESTION: Who has amendments to introduce? 

DELEGATE: Proposes to close the Hst of speakers and to designate individuals representing all factions. 

SAVELIEV: Moves that the matter be put in such a way as would not create the impression that we are 
in agreement with the resolution. Therefore, I propose that the amend ments are not introduced officially 
in the name of our faction. 

KAMENEV: The speakers will make that clear. Ought we go to the meeting with the Mensheviks? 

KRESTINSKY: It is meaningless to go to such a meeting. 

NOGIN: We ought to discuss and seek to arrive at an agreement but it is impermissible to arrange such 
meetings on personal initiative. 

THE JOINT SESSION OF THE BOLSHEVIKS AND THE MENSHEVIKS 

r/m^.- 3:80 A.M. 

Preaent: In addition to the Bolshevik faction — Khinchuk, Rozanov, Ehrlich, Lieber, Ermansky, 
Kopelinsky, N. D. Sokolov. 

Comrade Ehinchuk is added to the Prasidium, and he takes the chair to conduct the meeting. 

NOGIN: At a gathering which represents the party Conference, it has been decided to discuss jointly the 
question of the attitude to the war. 

KHINCHUK What is of importance is not to determine upon whose initiative this was done hut the 
attitude to the war. There are three resolutions — that of the Executive Committee, that of the Mensheviks 
and that of the Bolsheviks. 

KAMENEV: At a private conference between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks we arrived at an 
agreement about the resolution. But the Bolsheviks have been elected to this Con ference, while the 
Mensheviks have not. That is why it is necessary for this meeting to approve this draft. 

EHRLICH We ought not only discuss the resolution on the attitude toward the war, but also decide the 
tactical question as to our attitude toward the text of the manifesto drafted by the Executive Committee. 
If we consider the draft acceptable to us, then we should declare our own point of view; but if it is 
acceptable, then we should make our viewpoint known without sharpening the issue. 

KHINCHUK Is the draft final in character or can changes be introduced? 

EHRLICH: Does the Executive Committee consider it pos sible to introduce changes? 

SEVRUK: All the faction conferences held up to now have made clear that within both tendencies there 
are two points of view: 1) the anti-defensist or, as it is called, the inter nationalist viewpoint; and 2) the 
viewpoint of revolutionary defensism. To the extent that these viewpoints exist in the conferences, to the 
same extent they will manifest themselves at the Soviet Conference too. I believe that when comrade 
Tseretelli put the question of the social democrats' support ing the position of the Executive Committee, 
he took as his starting point the fact that everybody was in fundamental agreement with the position of 
the Executive Committee. It is therefore necessary to clarify the question as to whether the social 

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democratic delegation will vote for or against the draft of the Executive Committee. It is necessary to 
clarify the position of the majority and then to decide the question of the minority. I move that each 
group elaborate its own resolution and come out at the Conference in the name of the majority and of the 
minority. I welcome this meeting because instead of four points of view, we will have two: that of the 
majority and that of the minority. 

KAMENEV: To pose here the question of defensism and anti-defensism is to repeat the discussion which 
we have already had. We have come to the conclusion that it is imper missible to vote for the resolution 
of the Executive Commit tee. It is not a socialist resolution. The Executive Commit tee assumes in it the 
viewpoint of Henderson and Thomas. It is impossible to vote for a resolution which says nothing about 
peace, about the abrogation of the secret treaties left over from Czarism. Another resolution must be 
counterposed to it. Our task is to fuse the socialist-internationalists around the resolution. [Reada the 
resolution.] 

ROZANOV: I take part in this private conference, empow ered by nobody. At the present time, in many 
places in the provinces, there is taking place the spontaneous unification of the masses of Bolsheviks and 
Mensheviks. Every time that party activity is revived, such a unification takes place. I consider this to be 
a Sign of a healthy instinct on the part of the working class masses who strive with all their might for the 
creation of a united social democratic party. I consider it necessary that whenever possible all public state 
ments generally should be made in solidarity. And I appeal to all those comrades who are not satisfied 
with the resolution to make concessions. In particular, I appeal to those com rades who are defensists and 
who are dissatisfied with the resolution. Comrades, do not stress the disagreements, for this will cause a 
split. 

As regards the text of the resolution, it underscores, as has already been said at the Menshevik 
conference, that the Pro visional Government is not revolutionary in itself, that the proletariat of all 
countries has a common basis for solidarity, and that it is necessary to exert all our strength to re-enforce 
this basis of solidarity. The masses lacked this basis, so long as the revolution did not break out. Only 
when the democratic idea triumphed, did this solidarity manifest itself. 

With respect to the last point, I foresee objections on the part of the defensists. The compromise will 
satisfy neither the comrades Bolsheviks nor the comrades Defensists. But, nevertheless, both sides can 
arrive at an agreement. After all, it is impossible to satisfy at one and the same time both sides, because 
we have two different viewpoints here, and it is impossible not to fool anybody and to have a single 
resolu tion. The appeal to remain at the posts cannot be interpreted as primitively as is being done by 
some soldiers, namely: 

Neither to advance nor retreat. While the defensists do not look upon the Bolsheviks and the 
internationalist-Mensheviks as people upon whom one could spit - and I hope there is nothing of the sort 
here — you should consider whether or not it is expedient, while remaining socialists, to cause a large 
section of the party to split off, merely because this does not correspond to the mood of the soldier and 
peasant masses ~ and all the more so, of the bourgeoisie! [Applause.] 

To us you are valuable as representatives of the working class masses, and you defensists will be drawn 
into a single socialist party. For the sake of this future, I call upon you to unite on the resolution. 

Motion is made to have two reporters for the second tendency: Lieber and Voitiissky. 

LIEBER: Comrade Rozanov is absolutely wrong in posing the question of the prospects of our future 

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party structure in dependence upon the attitude on the question of defensism. As far as I know, within the 
Bolshevik tendency there is tak ing place the same struggle around the question of the atti tude to 
defensism. In consequence, we must do away with the old division between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, 
and speak only of our attitude toward the war. Comrade Rozanov cor rectly said that precisely at the 
moment when the question of the unity of the social democracy is especially vital, we are being 
threatened with a split in the party. But he forgot another great danger: That the proletariat may become 
isolated from the rest of the democracy at such a moment as we are now living through, and the social 
democracy in its turn may become isolated from the proletariat. And I appeal to you not to forget the 
enormous task facing us, and not to substitute for this problem, the dominant role of the social 
democracy. 

Every attempt to evade giving an answer to the question of our attitude to defensism is doomed to failure, 
because the bourgeoisie is conducting a forthright agitation. It is politi cally more advantageous to 
renounce defensism altogether than to come out with a compromise. For we cannot face unarmed the 
bourgeoisie which is conducting an agitation. In the resolution we speak of: Soldiers, Workers. But up to 
now it has been our habit to operate with the class. Where is the place of the class? Where is its post? 
[VOICE: "Remain at yourp o St!"] 

The formula of the resolution, you must agree, is not an answer, but an evasion. It is inacceptable both to 
you and to ourselves. For the sake of the urgent need of the unity of the proletarian front, in order that the 
victory of the revolution may be made secure, and bearing in mind that we have not yet conquered-we 
ought to remember that we cannot adopt a resolution which isolates the proletariat from the democracy, 
while isolating the social democracy from the proletariat. The delegates from the provinces report that 
the moods locally are quite different from the mood prevailing here. If we do not stand in a majority on a 
position opposed in principle to that of the Executive Committee. 

KAMENEY: We do so stand. 

LIENER:. . . then there was no need to carry on any discus sian. But we are facing an abyss, not a party, 
but an abyss into which we are plunging the proletariat. Can the social democracy permit itself the luxury 
of digging an abyss between itself and the workers and the soldiers who have gathered for the 
Conference? If the question involved the triumph of the chauvinist moods expressed at the Conference 
by a few soldiers, then of course I would be in favor of an abyss, because this mood of the soldiery can 
lead the prole tariat into the abyss. But the question is whether we should strive to break away the more 
conscious section of the dele gation, or repel them towards the less conscious. This, of course, does not 
do away with the necessity of advancing those sides which we think necessary to advance. The line of 
conduct, dictated by political tact, speaks for the necessity of uniting the majority of the Conference on a 
platform which, though less illuminating, will be acceptable to all. We will vote for the resolution of the 
Executive Committee, but this will not hinder us from coming forward with our own, more illuminating 
declaration. 

VOITINSRY: I am ready to put my signature to every word of comrade Lieber. In both factions there are 
both tendencies. There are two viewpoints that are far removed from each other. The representatives of 
both factions are on the Execu tive Committee. The entire work of the Soviet has been con ducted under 
our banner. If we engage in a battle over the resolution, we will discredit our representatives on the 
Executive Committee not only at the present session but in the future as well. The Executive Committee 
must be far more cautious in its actions than a political party. It is impermissible to thrust socialist views 



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Upon this body. This is the business of parties, but as the representatives of factions and parties we are 
duty bound to come out independently with a demonstra tive declaration of our own point of view. 
Kamenev has made such a declaration, and we must continue to do likewise in the future. Our public 
appearance must be a fighting, not a theoretical one, but adapted to the level of the understanding of the 
masses; for this reason we must cede certain theoretical postulates in return for practical effects. Our 
coming out with an independent resolution would weaken the forces of the Executive Committee, and 
thereby deal a heavy blow to the cause of revolution. We must announce that the resolu tion does not 
satisfy us, but when it comes to voting on the resolution, then we must vote unanimously [applause] in 
favor of the resolution, without introducing any amendments, and without raising any objections. 

ERMANSEY: Comrade Lieber has declared that the reso lution gives only a negative answer, and not a 
positive one. This is not true. The resolution does give an answer: Peace on an international scale. 

What has happened to make the comrades who previously stood on the internationalist viewpoint, speak 
now of the necessity of changing our attitude toward the war? -1) The Russian Revolution; 2) The 
proclamation of the Provisional Government. But in essence there has been no change in the situation, 
and therefore there are no reasons for a change of attitude toward defensism. Has the imperialist content 
of the war actually changed because of the fact that Russia has become a republic? After al!, France and 
America are republics too, and this notwithstanding, they are conduct ing imperialist policies. As regards 
the proclamation of the Provisional Government, only the Russian Government has renounced 
annexations; everything else depends on what England and France say. I am certain nothing W ill come 
of it. We know that a government headed by Miliukov, who did not resign, knows that France and 
England who have invested colossal resources in the enterprise called war, will not allow this. The intent 
of the proclamation is to weaken German imperialism by disrupting civil peace. If we change our atti 
tude to the war before there is a change in the situation itself — what will be said abroad? That we are 
utilizing a super ficial pretext in order to conduct an imperialist war under the cover of beautiful slogans. 
Within certain limits we are falling into the position which is being taken by the semi official organs. We 
conduct the war only in order to defend the country. 

The soldiers will understand the slogan if we develop it. After all, the Germans can say that they have 
long stood for peace, that their government has even come out with peace proposals, but that our 
coalition has replied with a refusal. 

KAPELANSKY: The question must be discussed on two planes: What is our principled attitude to the 
resolution of the Executive Committee, and what is our own resolution. If we were to come out in the 
sense of not supporting the resolution of the Executive Committee this would weaken the Executive 
Committee and the Soviet, who have great work ahead of them, and thereby we would cause enormous 
harm. The resolution of Kamenev is not an internationalist resolu tion. What does it mean: "Remain at 
your posts"? We must give a clear answer to the soldier as to what he must do until the time when an 
insurrection breaks out in Western Europe. 

Discussion closed. 

The following motions are put to a vote: 

"1) To come out with an absolutely independent joint compromise resolution. 

"2) To announce that we support the resolution of the Executive Committee, and make a demonstrative 
declaration of our own resolution. 

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"3) To introduce amendments to the resolution of the Executive Committee. 

"4) To try to come to an agreement beforehand with the Executive Committee on the amendments. 

"5) To discard all resolutions and wholly to adhere to the appeal of the Executive Committee." 

NOGIN: There are two sharply different lines: To adhere to the resolution of the Executive Committee, 
or to accept Kamenev's resolution as the basis. 

KROKHMAL: Moves that the following be put to a vote: 

6) To accept the appeal of the E.C.; 2) Whether to introduce amendments. 

KRESTINSKY: Who is eligible to vote? In the Bolshevik conference only delegates with decisive votes 
could vote. 

KHINCHUV: The same holds true for the Mensheviks. The decision is not unconditionally binding 
because the faction Conference has still to take place. 

SEVRUK: Inasmuch as the question discussed is the col lective position to be taken at the Conference, I 
move that we allow only those elected to the Conference to vote. 

CHAIRMAN: Those will vote who voted at the faction Conference. 

The vote is taken. 

Motion 5 is put to a vote. (Defeated by all votes against 29.) 

Motion 1 is put to a vote. (After three ballots: For-74; against-66.) The motion to come out against the 
resolution of the Executive Committee is adopted. (Commotion in the hall. Shouts.) 

Motion 4 is put to a vote. (For-62-68; against-66-70.) Motion carried: To come out with an independent 
resolution, taking as the basis the text of the Executive Committee. 

Election of conciliationist committee. 

Elections to this committee to be according to tendencies. 

The following elected: Kamenev, Voitinsky, Lieber, Ermansky. 

This committee is also entrusted to carry on negotiations with the Executive Committee. 

The Mensheviks leave for a faction session to discuss the question of their future conduct. 

THE SESSION OF THE BOLSHEVKS (Continued) 

Chairman: Nogin. 

KRESTINSKY: If no agreement is reached, what will we do? 

VOITINSKY: Proposes that the Bolsheviks who disagree with Kamenev's resolution leave and vote with 
the Menshevik Defensists. 

Seven men leave the hall, amoug them: Voitinsky, Sevrtik, Eliava, Yakhontov. 

LUGANOVSXY: Moves that a joint plan of action be worked out, for instance, that they abstain during 



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the voting. Moves to call back those who left and try to come to an agreement with them. 

GOLOSOREKIN: Speaks against, in view of the fact that negotiations have been carried on with the 
defensists for sev eral days already, and have brought no agreement. It is useless to keep this game up. 

SVERDLOV: Agrees with Philip. We must have party discipline. 

TSVJLLINO: That's a false interpretation. Nobody knew that the Mensheviks and the. S.R.'s have the 
same disagree ments as there are among ourselves. It is necessary to call them back. 

TER-GABRYELAN: Announces that his mandate binds him to fight for unification. Blame for the split 
on our shoulders. 

POZERN: Announces that he belongs to the tendency of revolutionary defensism but that he did not 
walk out because he considers himself bound by the Conference. He reserves the right to abstain. 

ZALUTSKY: Moves that those who left be invited to return and that it be proposed to them that they 
abstain. 

TEPLOV: Announces that he had always been a Bolshevik, and feels now obliged to declare that if 
things go on this way, the Army will be left without a staff. The Samara resolution differs fundamentally 
from the one adopted here. 

A vote is taken on the motion to invite those who walked out . (The majority in favor.) 

Voitinsky on his return is informed of the proposal to abstain. 

VOITINSEY: Will there be objections made to the resolution? 

CHAIRMAN: Yes. 

VOITINSRY: In that case I refuse to abstain. Delegates Dan and Lieber have announced that they are 
withdrawing their resolution, and even though they are not at all points in agreement with the resolution 
of the Executive Committee, they will support it. Voitinsky declares in the name of the group of the 
Bolsheviks, that they too will support it. 
SESSION OF MARCH 31 

Chairman:. Nogin. 

Secretaries: Comrades Boki and Drabkina. 

STALIN: Inquires whether it is permissible to allow the defensists who split last night to be present. 

MILIUTIN: The question of the splitter must be settled at a general conference of the faction. 

The question is tabled until there is a fuller attendance of the faction. 
The Qusetionof the Provisioquzi Government. 

MILIUTIN: Reports that the Committee of Eight, actually of five, assigned to draft a resolution on the 
attitude to the Provisional Government was unable to arrive at any agree ment. On the first point: 
Voitinsky remained on his original position that the Provisional Government is revolutionary, and is 
ours, and that therefore we have to support it. We, on the other hand, proceeded from the standpoint that 



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the Government is not ours, but bourgeois, and strives to confine the development of the revolution. For 
this reason we were unable to arrive at any agreement. We will support the meas ures in so far as they are 
directed toward fortifying the con quests of the revolution. We support the revolution but we do not 
support the Provisional Government as such. 

In the last analysis, Voitinsky's resolution comes down to a vote of confidence. 

He reads the resolution of Voitinsky and the resolution of Kamenev — Stalin, which is appended [see 
page 800]. 

VASSILIEV: Cannot understand why an agreement was not reached. After all, the majority has already 
expressed itself in favor of supporting the measures aimed to further the development of the revolution. 
In essence, I am in agreement with the second text, but am unable to see any difference between the two. 
After all, in question here is not the support of the Government, but of certain measures-the support and 
strengthening of steps taken by the Provisional Government. 

KAMENEV: Inquires whether the question has been settled of counterposing his resolution to Steklov's 
resolution. 

NOGIN: We must first formulate our own opinion. 

KAMENEV: In Steklov's resolution the point dealing with support is absolutely inacceptable. It is 
impermissible to have any expression of support, even to hint at it. We can not support the Government 
because it is an imperialist gov ernment, because, despite its own declaration, it remains in an alliance 
with the Anglo-French bourgeoisie. In the Communist Manifesto there is a statement to the effect that we 
give support to the liberal bourgeoisie, but only in the event of its being attacked. But from Steklov's 
report it is obvious that it is not they who are being attacked, but rather it is they themselves who are 
attacking the Soviet of Workers' Deputies. In yesterday's amendments to the resolution we stated that 
support at the present time is impossible. In view of the dual power, the will of the revolutionary people 
is embodied not in the Provisonal Government but in the Soviets of Workers' Deputies; and also that the 
latter must be strengthened and that they must come to a clash with the Provisional Government. Our 
task is to point out that the only organ worthy of our support is the Soviet of Workers' Deputies. The task 
of the Congress is to proclaim to all Russia that the sole expresser of the will of the revolutionary people 
is the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, and that we must strengthen and support them and not 
the Provisional Government. 

At the Conference, all the Bolshevik speakers must point out that our task is to support the Soviets. 
Whether or not we should introduce our own resolution or major amendments to the resolution of the 
Executive Committee - that is the question which we ought to discuss here. 

FEDOROV: The cardinal issue is the question of our atti tude to the Provisional Government. In order to 
express our attitude to the Provisional Government we must first know what it represents. At the head of 
the Government are the representatives of the landlord class and of the big hour geoisie. The policy of 
these classes is the exploitation of the proletariat and the peasantry and the pursuance of imperial ist aims 
in the war. But whether or not the Government puts this policy into effect-that depends on the relation of 
forces. In order that this relationship of forces be favorable to the proletariat and the peasantry, it is 
necessary to strengthen the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. It is impermissible to support and 
place our confidence in a Government which does not merit it. Life itself demands a clear-cut answer. It 
is necessary that the proletariat and the peas antry be informed of our attitude to the Provisional Govern 

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ment. For this reason we must say that we do not oppose it. If it will fortify the revolution we shall not 
oppose it; but as soon as counter-revolutionary machinations are begun behind the backs of the people, 
we shall proclaim a decisive struggle against it. 

MILIUTIN : Nobody on the committee will protest if the point on support is deleted from the resolution. 
But the majority of the Conference has decided to include the point on support. Should the present 
session find it possible to change its decision, it will undoubtedly take a progressive step. If after our 
resolution on war and the speech made by Steklov, the meeting should decide to reconsider, we would 
welcome this step. On points 1, 3 and 4, there was agreement reached in the committee, but on point 2, 
the committee felt unable to say that the Provisional Government is a revolu tionary government, and we 
remained intransigent. I move that we exclude the point on support. 

NOGIN For those who have held the viewpoint against support, the speech of Steklov has introduced one 
new thought: It is clear that we ought not now talk about support but about resistance. 

SKRYPNIK: Since yesterday's speech many things have changed. There can be no more talk of 
supporting the Gov ernment. There is a conspiracy of the Provisional Govern ment against the people 
and the revolution, and it is neces sary to prepare for a struggle against it. We must present a separate 
resolution. The reporter speaks of danger, of the organization of the counter-revolution, hut the 
resolution speaks of support. At the present moment we must take one of the resolutions as the basis and 
proceed to a vote. 

NOGIN: Moves the election of a committee consisting of three people. 

STALIN: Moves to instruct the committee to change the point on support. 

Comrade Stalin's motion is voted on. 

Adopted by a majority of all votes against four. The point on support is deleted from the resolution. 
Elections to the committtee to draft the resolution: Miliutin, Kamenev, Stalin, Teodorovich. 

NOGIN: Shall we introduce our own separate resolution? 

Unanimously adopted : To introduce a separate resolution. 

NOGIN: There are almost 100 speakers already on the list. The list is being made up chaotically; the 
order is being violated. We succeeded only with difficulty in getting Kam enev placed on the list. 

Our names which were among the first to be presented were found, after considerable difficulty, on the 
bottom. The members of the Executive Committee will speak against Stek lov (Sukhanov is a 
co-reporter). It would be well for the committee to prepare not only the resolution but also amendments. 

POZERN: Did the Mensheviks draft a resolution? 

NOGIN: Proposes that we get information about the Men shevik resolution. 

(Shouts: ''They tricked us. Don't bother!") 

NOGIN: This evening a solemn session will be held. I move that we propose Kamenev as a reporter. If 
we are refused- we do not go. 

STUCHKA: (Special announcement.) In the agrarian section I am the only social democrat, the 

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remaining fifteen are all S.R.'s. Other comrades must come in. 

A motion is introduced to draft a resolution on the agrarian question. The following are elected on the 
committee to draft this resolution: Stuchka, Pozern, Teodorovich, Miliu tin, Skrypnik. 

Nogin reads the resolution of Moscow Regional Conference: "On the organizational tasks in the village. 

NOGIN: The resolution contains a proposal to organize the seizure of lands without waiting for the 
Constituent Assembly. The S.R.'s did not dare to raise such a slogan, but proposed rather to wait for the 
Constituent Assembly. Upon learning of the decision of the Moscow Conference they said, "Woe to us! 
Now the peasants will elect the Bolsheviks." 



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Stalin School of Falsification -- Chapter 15 



Leon Trotsky's 

The Stalin School Of Falsification 



Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive , now a sub-archive of the Marxist writers' Internet Archive 
by David Walters in 1997 

SESSION OF APRIL 1 

Chairman: Comrade Teodorovich. 

Secretaries: Comrades Boki and F. I. Drabkina. 

Order of the day: Tseretelli's proposal for unification. 

STALIN: We ought to go. It is necessary to define our proposals as to the terms of unification. 
Unification is possible along the lines of Zimmerwald-Kienthal. 

LUGANOVSKY: The Kharkov Committee is carrying on negotiations precisely along these lines. 

MOLOTOV: Tseretelli wants to unite heterogeneous elements. Tseretelli calls himself a Zimmerwaldist 
and a Kienthalist, and for this reason unification along these lines is Incorrect both politically and 
organizationally. It would be more correct to advance a definite internationalist socialist platform. We 
will unite a compact minority. 

LUGANOVSKY (in refuting comrade Molotov) says: At the present time we are unaware of any 
disagreements. The Mensheviks abstained in the Soviet and spoke more strongly than did . . . the 
Bolsheviks who came out against. Many disagreements have been outlived. It is out of place to 
underscore tactical differences. We can have a joint Congress with the Mensheviks, the Zimmerwaldists 
and Kienthalists. 

SKRYPNIK: This debate is purely a verbal one. Unification is possible only with those who reject 
revolutionary defensism and who share our attitude toward the Provisional Government. 

ZALUTSKY: If we enter into negotiations with the Mensheviks, we must put forward our own views. 
We proceed from a definite position. Only a petty bourgeois and not a social democrat can proceed from 
a mere desire for unification. There is disagreement between us on the following questions: 

1) the attitude to war; 

2) the evaluation and role of the capitalist forces in the revolution. If we now slur over them, we 
will have a split within a week just the same. It is impossible to unite on the basis of a superficial 
Zimmerwald-Kienthal token. Teplovsky's argument that the "provinces will compel us to go to the 
Right" - is wrong. He is a poor social democrat who will allow himself to become dissolved in the 
mass. It is necessary to lead the masses behind us. It is necessary to advance a definite program. 



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LAZURKINA: On the order of the day is the question whether or not we go to the meeting. 

TEODOROVICH: There is nothing for us "to go with." 

STALIN: There is no use running ahead and anticipating disagreements. There is no party Hfe without 
disagreements. We will live down trivial disagreements within the party. But there is one question - it is 
impossible to unite what cannot be united. We will have a single party with those who agree on 
Zimmerwald and Kienthal, Le.y those who are against revolutionary defensism. That is the line of 
demarcation. We must inform the Mensheviks that our desire is only the desire of the group meeting here 
and that it is not binding upon all Bolsheviks. We ought to go to the meeting, but not advance any 
platforms. Within the framework of what we desire is the convocation of a Conference on the basis of 
anti-defensism. 

The discussion is closed. 

The motions of comrades Stalin and Molotov are voted upon. 

The motion of comrade Stalin: 

"1) To announce that we can unite only with those whohold the standpoint of Zimmerwald and 
Kienthal, i.e., anti-defensism; 

"2) That the meeting be informative in character. Those participating in it are expressing the views 
of the group of the Bolsheviks, and is not binding on all." 

The motion of comrade Molotov: 

"1) It is necessary to come out with a platform; 

"2) Same as comrade Stalin's." 
Passed unanimously: 

"1) To go to the meeting. 

"2) To recognize the meeting as informative." 

LUGANOVSKY: Speaks in favor of creating a committee for the organization of a unity Congress. 

MILIUTIN: Moves the creation of a Bureau for contact with the centers. 

STALIN: Moves that we elect no Bureau for the convocation of a Conference of internationalists but 
instead propose to the Central Executive Committee that it communicate with the leaders of the 
internationalist-Mensheviks on the question of calling such a conference. 

The motion of comrade Stalin is adopted by a majority of all votes against one. 

LUGANOVSKY: Moves to convene a joint meeting of the Zimmerwaldists. (For -14; against - 13.) 

The following committee to carry on negotiations is elected: Comrades Stalin, Kamenev, Teodorovich, 
Nogin.Comrade Stalin is assigned to make the report at the joint session. 

SESSION OF APRIL 2 

Chairman: Comrade Shliapnikov. 

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Secretaries: Comrades G.E. Boki and F. I. Drabkina. 

The session opens with a discussion on the question of prolonging the Conference. The comrades from 
the provinces speak in favor of their earliest possible departure, since matters locally "have been left to 
the whim of fate." The decision as expressed by the vote is to continue the Conference until the close of 
the Soviet Conference. 

The agenda is next discussed: Which should be considered first, the questions involving the agenda as 
published in Pravda.ov the questions which are being taken up at the Conference of Soviet of Workers' 
and Soldiers' Deputies, and in particular the question of the coalition government. 

STASSOVA: Reports that Buryanov had sent telegrams far and wide with a proposal to demand the 
inclusion of Plekhanov in the ministry. 

SRLIAPNIXOV: There is no need for us to occupy ourselves with a question raised by Buryanov. 

The agenda is put to a vote. 

Decided to take up first the questions that are being discussed at the Soviet Conference. 

I. The Organization Question. 

The Organization of the Revolutionary Forces and the Struggle Against Counter-Revolution. 

MANDELSTAM: The section has narrowed down the scope of its work and has taken up the question of 
the organization of the Soviets and of calling the Congress [of the Soviets]. 

In the section, the question was posed in the following man ner: At the second sitting, Voitinsky 
reviewed the discussion and proposed the following plan for the organization of the Soviet of Workers' 
and Soldiers' Deputies. 

1) A merged organization of soldiers and workers in the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. 
(Yoitinsky insisted on changing the name from "Soldiers' " to "Military" because the latter name 
corresponds more closely to the actual make-up of the Soviets, but the majority was not in agree ment 
with this.) The merger must take place all along the line of activities. The separation of activities can be 
made only on special questions of soldiers' and workers' life. But their political work must be carried out 
only jointly. 

2) Regional organizations through Regional Congresses, and the creation of a Regional Bureau of the 
Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. 

8) The All-Russian Congress. 

The first Congress to be called on April 25. 

Voitinsky has proposed joint representation for workers and soldiers. As regards the officer staff, the 
question was raised whether a separate officers' organization ought to exist alongside of the workers' and 
soldiers' organization. This question was settled negatively: the progressive officers must enter into the 
existing Soviets, as is already being done locally. The Army organizations will have representation as 
small district organizations, and then as central organiza tions, but in the large working class centers a 
close tie-up between them and the workers' organizations is desirable. The peasant organizations are to 



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be created on the initiative of the peasantry, but in the district organs there must be the participation of 
peasant organizations. 

The delegates of the local Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies and the organizations of toiling 
peasantry are to participate in the regional Congresses. 

The Congress. 

Voitinsky proposed representation on the basis of 1 to 25,000; Bogdanov, proportional representation. 
The following decision was adopted: Up to 100,000, one representative for each 25,000; five from 
150,000; above 200,000, six. In addition, the Congress will include the representatives of the 
organizations of the toiling peasantry from among the socialist parties. Voitinsky proposed to convene 
the Congress for the Russian May 1, but the representatives of the Army objected, feeling it desirable to 
arrange a demonstration on that day. It was decided that the Congress must be convened before the close 
of the season of bad roads, so that the Army is organized for the beginning of military activities. The 
Congress will elect an AU-Russian Center which will be sup plemented from time to time at the regional 
conferences. It is possible that a permanent body will be established — the Executive Committee. The 
composition of this Executive Committee has not been decided beforehand, the decision is left to the 
Congress. The calling of the Congress is entrusted to the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, which is to be supplemented with 10 delegates from the present 
Conference (Voitinsky in sists on 5). This Organization Bureau is instructed to draw up the agenda and to 
transmit it to the organizations. Up to the convocation of the Congress, the Bureau will perform all the 
political work. This Bureau represents at the present time the entire revolutionary democracy. 

I should like to explain the question of binding mandates. The Army representatives have arrived with 
binding man dates, which hinders the work. I consider this impermissible. I had a conversation with 
Voitinsky who considers this a debatable question. He is personally of the opinion that it is permissible. 

DROBNIS (supplementary report): At the last session of the organizational section, the following 
question arose: 

Inasmuch as the Government heads the democratic revolu tionary Russia, the question arises that this 
Government should reflect the opinion of all Russia. A desire was expressed that those who are elected to 
the Central Executive Commit tee take up this question. In addition, a desire was expressed that the 
Executive Committee be supplemented with representatives from the oblosts.Tho army representatives 
expressed the desire that representatives from each army should be included (all told, about 20 men); 
others were in favor of representatives from each front (since there are four fronts, that would be 4 men). 
The question was left open. 

TS VILLING: Is it the opinion of the section that repre sentatives of officers should be elected? 

MANDELSTAM: There must be no separate representatives from the officers. Should an officer be 
elected by the soldiers, he will be seated; otherwise, no. 

NEVSEV: It has been decided that the Executive Commit tee will direct the political work in the country. 
But how? 

MANDELSTAM: This question was raised and settled in the sense that the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' 
Deputies, as represented by the Executive Committee, is deserving of complete confidence. 



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KOROVAIKOVA: Was the question of the reorganization of the Soviets of Workers' Deputies raised? 
For instance, in Ivanov-Voznesensk are seated representatives of cooperatives, of the committee for 
Hteracy and other non-working class organizations. As a result, in the Ivanovo-Voznesensk Soviet the 
workers are in a minority. 

DELEGATE: Was the question raised of a goubernia organ? 

MANDELSTAM: Not of a goubernia organ, only of an oblast organ. 

ANOTHER DELEGATE: Our faction should introduce a motion to reorganize the Soviets of Workers' 
Deputies. Since the majority regards the scope of the revolution as an embryo of the international 
revolution, was the question raised of inviting the representatives of the international proletariat? 

MANDELSTAM: No. 

TS VILLING: I am entirely unable to agree with the decision of the section that the officers' collective 
has no right to delegate its own representatives to the Congress. This may arouse friction in the 
provinces. In Chelyabinsk the officers were allotted one fifth of the seats. If this decision is enforced, 
there will not be a single representative of the officers in the Soviet. 

I move that we support another point of view, namely, that of giving the officers the right to elect directly 
into the Soviet of Deputies. Such a situation is being created as will compel the officers to organize their 
own Soviet of Deputies, which will he worse. In Chelyabinsk has been formed a Committee for Social 
Security. When it began to issue resolu tions contrary to the decisions of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies, 
the latter resolved not to permit it in its midst. There is no need to make enemies. 

ZELJGSON: There are inadequacies in the plan. The organ ization is along gonbernia lines at the present 
time. Our plan of organization should be made to correspond to that. In the provinces, within the 
gottberma committees, it is not we who function but absolutely alien elements. This can be over come 
only in the event that the revolutionary democracy is organized in gollbernias. The organization must 
begin not with the oblast but with the goabeiana. 

KOMISSAROV: It seems to me that people here are unacquainted with the structure in the provinces. An 
impor tant question has been overlooked the inclusion of repre sentatives from the provinces, and this is 
very important. The legislative organ is ~ the Soviet of Workers' Deputies of Petrograd. Since our Soviet 
of Workers' Deputies represents a legislative organ for ourselves and for the Provisional Gov ernment to 
which it prescribes the laws, it is necessary to include in it the representatives from the provinces. 

SMIRNOV (IVAN N.): In the military commission the opinion also prevailed that the officers should be 
seated in the Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies. The speaker is against the participation of the officers in the 
Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. Let them organize themselves separately. Owing to this, in 
Tomsk the Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies plays the decisive role. The Soviet consists of social democrats. 
Among the officers there are not more than 20 socialists. We have introduced the election of the 
representatives among the detachments. No orders are valid without the signature of the representatives 
of the soldiers. Among us the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies have taken all the power. 
Things are being managed magnificently. The Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies decided to 
release 12,000 men for work in the fields, having calculated beforehand how many could be sent. When 
the head of the Omsk Military District began t put a spoke in the wheels, the Soviet demanded catego 
rically that not a single order touching local conditions, hould be issued without the sanction of the 

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Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies. It turned out that he was entirely uninformed about local conditions. The 
officers might be formed into special sections in party organizations and through them the entire 
remaining mass might be influenced. The Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies decided not to send out companies 
into the field until discipline was established. The officers were in favor of sending them; despite this, the 
head of the military district revoked the order, pending special disposition. 

Unfortunately the question of separating out the officers will not be passed at the Conference. And yet, 
observing the officers at the Congress, it is necessary to state: Who is a chauvinist? ~ The officer. Who is 
an opportunist? ~ The officer. 

In Siberia, at the beginning of April, elections took place to the city Dumas on the basis of KhvostkL We 
managed to get for the soldiers the right of participating in the elections on equal rights with the rest of 
the population. In Omsk for example there are 70,000 soldiers to the 50,000 adult population. Thus, in 
the Duma the soldiers turned out in majority. 

As for the proposal to call the Congress on April 25, the speaker expresses himself in opposition. We will 
hardly manage to get back when we shall have to prepare for the All-Russian Congress. Why is this 
called for? The need to fortify the organizition? This can be done without a Congress. This will create a 
bad impression on the provinces and the disorganization will be aggravated. 

VOZDVIZHENSKY: I also conclude from practical experience, although among us the officers are 
socialists, that it is neces sary to separate out the officers. If we are to elect one to every 25,000, why 
should they, a minority, be specially allot ted one-fifth of the seats? There are separate military com 
mittees into which officers also enter. 

OKHLONIN: Is in favor of giving the officers a vote on an equal footing with the soldiers. If the officers 
are revolution ary, the soldiers themselves will elect them. Sees no reason for separating out the officers 
into a special caste. 

As regards the date set for the calling of the Congress, it should be postponed: Russia is an enormous 
country and it is impossible to get a congress together quickly. The prov inces will underscore that the 
Petrograd Soviet of Workers' Deputies deserves confidence and this will fortify its influence. If there is a 
postponement for two weeks or a month, we shall be able to determine whether it is feasible to hold a 
Congress. 

Motion: To close the speakers' list on the general discussion. 

DELEGATE: I move that discussion on this question be closed and that we proceed to the general 
political discussion on the attitude to the Provisional Government. 

SKRYPNIK: Our attitude to the Soviet of Workers' Deputies is expressed in the resolution which we 
adopted. 

TEONOROVICH: At the Congress the organizational ques tion will be discussed. It is therefore 
necessary to close dis cussion and take up the resolution of the organizational section, take it up article 
by article, and introduce changes and amendments. 

Discussion on the agenda closed. 

The following two motions are put to a vote: 1) To open the discussion on the question of the attitude of 



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the party to the Soviet of Workers' Deputies; or 2) to refer these general discussions to the question of the 
organization of the struggle against the counter-revolutionary forces and to proceed with the reading of 
the resolution article by article. 

The second motion is carried. 

The Resolution of the Organizational Section. 

Article 1. 

MANNELSTAM: This question is closely bound up with the question of the participation of the officers. 
The officers are undoubtedly opportunist and reactionary. If they are allowed to organize separately, they 
will organize into a hostile organ ization. If organized jointly with the Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies, their 
influence will be nullified by the influence of the class conscious elements. 

TSVILLING: I emphatically disagree with comrade Smir nov. In the nature of things, if there is a 
separate officers' organization, a Soviet of Officers' Deputies alongside of the Soviet of Soldiers' 
Deputies, it will engender friction. I do not know why the officers are a reactionary element. These are 
the self-same service men and not a special caste. The officers, of course, are not the proletariat, but 
neither are the soldiers. It is stated that among the officers there are oppor tunists. But there are any 
number of opportunists among other groups as well. If we were to come to Chelyabinsk with such a 
decision, the representatives of the party would have to leave the Soviets. In most of the cities, in the 
provinces, the same mood prevails. The formal argument that this is a Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies and 
that therefore the officers have no place there, is unsound. It is necessary to give the officers the right to 
delegate their representatives to the Soviets. 

Motion: One speaker for, one speaker against, on each amendment. 

Motion carried. 

SMIRNOV: The more officers there will be, the more oppor tunist will be the Soviets. In our Bolshevik 
Conference there is not a single officer but many soldiers. The conciliationist moods will predominate. It 
is necessary to play on the demo cratic feelings of the officers - they must not be given a special number 
of seats. 

TEODOROVICH: We ought not to raise the question of a separate organization of officers. New 
directives for reconstruction in the provinces ought not to be issued. 

TSVILLING: Introduces a motion that the officers send in delegates according to a fixed proportion. 

For -- 2. 

SMIRNOV: The officers send delegates on an equal basis. 

For-- 13. 

Against —12. 

TEODOROVICH: Moves that the matter be left as is in article 1. 

For- 11. 



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Against —15. 

Article 1 is put to a vote and is adopted by a majority. 

KOROVAIKOVA: Moves for the reorganization of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies in such a manner as 
will not allow the representatives of non-proletarian elements more seats than the workers, in the Soviet 
of Workers' Deputies. 

TOLSTOV: In favor of this motion because in Stavropol a resolution was passed against giving socialists 
seats on the ground that they obstruct the work and that there are many provocateurs among them. 
Comrade Tolstov moves to instruct the center to work out a definite plan, and to effect reorganization in 
accordance with this plan. 

MANDELSTAM: Opposed to closing the doors to the representatives of non-proletarian organizations 
inasmuch as the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies are the organs of revolutionary democracy. 

Korovaikova's motion is withdrawn. 

Article 2 is adopted unanimously. 

Article 3. 

ZELIOSON: Proposes an amendment: To create goubernia Soviets of Workers' Deputies. It will then be 
possible to exert an influence on the goubernia organs. 

For — 3; against ~ 6. Rejected. 

Article 8 is adopted. 

Article 4. 

TEODOROVICH: Introduces an amendment: Small organizations numbering less than 25,000 members 
are combined during elections. 

Amendment adopted. 

Article 4 adopted. 

Article 5 is adopted with the following amendment: To call the Congress not later than May 15, and not 
earlier than May 1 . 

Article 6. 

VASSILCHENRO: Introduces an amendment: "This Executive Committee is to act in close contact with 
the central bodies of the socialist parties." 

TEODOROVICH: Is opposed to the amendment, not because I disagree with it in essence, but because 
such things are car ried out in practise but not made public. To broadcast such a declaration is to give 
grist to the mill of all those who are conducting an agitation against the Soviets. 

The amendment is rejected. 

Article 6 is adopted. 



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Stalin School of Falsification -- Chapter 15 

Article 7 is adopted. 

Article 8. 

OKHLONIN and MANDELSTAM: Move that we fight for increasing the number of representatives 
from the provinces — even if only up to 15. For example, to include the representatives of the oblast 
organizations. 

TEODOROVICH: Moves to elect a Committee entrusted with carrying on negotiations in the name of 
the faction with the Presidium of the Conference as to the number and composi tion of the 
representatives from the provinces. 

Teodoronich's motion adopted. 

Article 8 adopted. 

Article 9 adopted with the following amendment: "Immediately and in agreement with the Petrograd 
Soviet of Workers' Deputies." 

SMIRNOV: Introduces a supplementary amendment: "That a central organ of the Soviets be issued by 
the Bureau." 

We are electing a Bureau to serve for a whole month, but we have no organ. "The Petrograd hvestia of 
Soviet of Workers' Deputies" is not authoritative. 

TS VILLING: The composition of the Conference is an accidental one and we might get an accidental 
editorial board; therefore it is possible that undesirable views might be advanced. 

The amendment was rejected. 

The draft as a whole is accepted. 

A committee is elected to negotiate with the Presidium: 

Stalin, Skrypnik, Teodorovich. 

A question is raised concerning the candidates to the Organization Committee for convoking the 
All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. Candidates to be elected from each 
oblast, and two representatives from each party. 

LUGANOVSKY: Moves that we fight for tabling the election to the next day, when the organizational 
centers will be selected, and not to have elections now. 

SAVELIEV: Moves that the representatives of the oblasta be left to designate their own candidates. 

STASSOVA: The Bureau of the Central Committee proposes to designate two comrades representing the 
oblasts and one candidate comrade Teodorovich. 

ELIAVA: I can understand a proposal to elect two representatives from the provinces. But I do not 
understand how we can elect representatives from the oblast. 

TEODOROVICH: The organizational section has worked out a draft of a resolution to be presented to 



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the Conference of the Soviet Deputies. The articles have been discussed and adopted as a whole. We are 
interested in the last article: 

The organizational section proposes to elect from the Conference a body of ten to enter into the 
Executive Committee and to participate in the calling of the Congress, to direct its convening, and to 
strengthen its influence. The question is how many and whom to elect. We are entitled to two places out 
often (the Bolshevik faction represents one-fourth of the Congress). We must designate these two. We 
have already decided that the Committee of 3 that has been elected will insist on elections not taking 
place on an oblast basis. But even should elections take place according to oblasta, the candidates will in 
every case be from some oblast Right now the immediate task is to designate two candidates. The same 
committee will try to increase the number of representatives from 10 to 15; we will then have 4 seats. 

The following are elected: Teodorovich, Serebriakov. 

SESSION OF APRIL 4 

On the order of the day: The Question of Unification and Report of comrade Lenin. 

Chairman: Comrade Zinoviev. 

Secretaries: 1.1. Boki and F. I. Drabkina. 

LENIN: My report and the question of unification may be combined. I apologize for coming late. 

AVILOV: The general meeting of the social democrats is scheduled for one o'clock. It is therefore 
necessary to set the minimum time for the session of the Bolshevik faction. 

(Shot&ts: "Up to three o'clock. ") 

DELEGATE: The delegates from the provinces have especially remained to be present at this session 
which will either unite or disunite. 

ZINOVIEV: Moves to get in touch with the organizers of the joint meeting. 

VOITINSEY: Moves to refer the report to the joint meeting. 

Comrade Teodorovich is designated to get in touch with the organizers of the joint meeting. 

Report by comrade Lenin. 

I have outlined several theses which I will supply with some brief comments. I was unable, because of 
the lack of time, to prepare a thorough and systematized report. 

The fundamental question is our attitude to the war. The essential thing that confronts one when reading 
the papers in Russia and observing conditions here, is the triumph of defensism, the victory of the traitors 
to socialism, the deception of the masses by the bourgeoisie. One is hit between the eyes by the fact that 
here in Russia the same situation exists in the socialist movement as in other countries: defensism, "the 
defense of the Fatherland." The difference is this, that nowhere is there the degree of freedom we have, 
and upon us, therefore, falls the responsibility before the whole inter national proletariat. The new 
Government, like the preceding one, is imperialist, despite the promise of a republic. It is imperialist 
through and through. 



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Thesis I. In our attitude to the war, which on Russia's part, even under the new Government of Lvov and 
Co., unconditionally remains a predatory imperialist war, owing to the capitalist nature of this 
Government, it is impermissible to make the slightest concession to "revolutionary defensism." 

The conscious proletariat may give its assent to a revolutionary war actually justifying revolutionary 
defensism only under the following conditions: a) the transfer of power into the hands of the proletariat 
and its ally, the poorest section of the peasantry; b) the renunciation of all annexations in deeds and not 
merely in words; c) a complete break, in practice, with all interests of capitalism. 

In view of the indubitable honesty of the mass of the rank and file representatives of revolutionary 
defensism who accept the war only out of necessity and not for the sake of conquests, in view of their 
being duped by the bourgeoisie, it is necessary with especial detail, persistence and patience, to explain 
to them their mistake, to explain the indissoluble tie between capitalism and imperialist war, to prove 
that, without the overthrow of capitalism, it is impossible to conclude the war with a really democratic, 
non-oppressive peace. 

This view must be widely propagated among the army units in the field. 

Fraternization. 

In our attitude toward the war even under the new Government, which remains an imperialist 
government, it is impermissible for us to make the slightest concession to defensism. The masses regard 
this thing from a practical, not a theoretical, standpoint. They say: "We want to defend the Fatherland, 
but not to seize foreign territory." When may we consider a war as our own? When there is a complete 
renunciation of annexations. 

The masses approach this question not theoretically but practically. Our mistake lies in our theoretical 
approach. The class-conscious proletariat may give its consent to a revolutionary war that really justifies 
revolutionary defensism. To the representatives of the mass of the soldiers the question must be put in a 
practical way, for there is no other way. We are not at all pacifists. But the fundamental question is: 
Which class is waging the war? The capitalist class, tied to the banks, cannot wage any but an imperialist 
war. The working class can. Steklov, Chkheidze, have forgotten everything. In reading the resolution of 
the Soviet of Workers' Deputies, one is amazed that people who call themselves socialists could have 
adopted such a resolution. 

What is peculiar in Russia is the gigantically swift transition from savage violence to the most delicate 
deceit. The fundamental condition is the renunciation of annexation of in words but in action. Rech is 
yowling over the declaration of the Sotsial-Democrat that the incorporation of Courland into Russia is 
annexation. But annexation is the act of incorporating any country distinguished by national peculiarities 
every incorporation of a nation against its will, regardless of whether it has a language of its own, so long 
as it feels itself to be a distinct nation. This is a prejudice of the Great Russians, cultivated for centuries. 

The war can be terminated only through a complete break with international capitalism. The war was 
caused not by separate individuals but by international finance capita!. To break with international 
capitalism is no easy matter, but neither is it an easy matter to put an end to the war. It is infantile and 
naive to suppose that the war can be stopped at will by one side.... Zimmerwald, Kienthal. ... Upon us 
more than upon anybody else devolves the duty of defending the honor of international socialism. The 
difficulty of the approach.... 



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In view of the unquestionable prevalence of defensist moods among wide layers of the masses who 
accept the war onley ot&t of necessity and not for the sake of conquests, we must explain to them in 
special detail, patiently, insistently, that it is impossible to terminate the war by a non-oppressive peace, 
unless capitalism is overthrown. It is necessary to develop this idea widely, in broadest possible scope. 
The soldiers demand a concrete answer to the question — how to end the war. But to promise the people 
that we can end the war solely through the good intentions of a few individuals - that is political 
charlatanism. We must warn the masses. The revolution is a difficult thing. Mistakes are unavoidable. 
Our mistake is that we have not exposed revolutionary defensism to its very roots. Revolutionary 
defensism is treason to socialism. It is not enough to limit ourselves to. . . . The mistake must be 
admitted. What to do? We must explain. How give to those who do not understand what socialism is. .. . 
We are no charlatans. We must base ourselves only on the consciousness of the masses. Even if it is 
necessary to remain in a minority ~ so he it. It is a good thing to give up for a time the position of 
leadership; we must not be afraid to remain in the minority. When the masses announce that they do not 
want conquests, I believe them. When Guchkov and Lvov say they do not want conquests, they are 
deceivers! When a worker says that he wants the defense of the country, what speaks in him is the 
instinct of the oppressed. 

Thesis II. The peculiarity of the present moment in Russia consists in the transition from the first stage of 
the revolution, which gave power to the bourgeoisie on account of the inadequate organization of the 
proletariat, to its second stage, which must give power to the proletariat and the poorest layers of the 
peasantry. 

This transition is characterized, on the one hand, by a maximum of legality (Russia is now the freest of 
all the belligerent countries in the world); and, on the other hand, by the absence of oppression of the 
masses, and finally, by their trusting and not class-conscious attitude to the government of the capitalists, 
the worst enemies of peace and socialism. This peculiarity of the present moment demands of us an 
ability to adapt ourselves to the special conditions of party work among the unprecedently vast masses of 
the proletariat just awakened to political life. 

Why didn't you seize power? Steklov says it was because of this and that, and something or other. That's 
nonsense. The reason is that the proletariat is not sufficiently conscious and sufficiently organized. That 
we have to acknowledge. The material force is in the hands of the proletariat, but the bourgeoisie was 
conscious and ready. That is the monstrous fact. But it is necessary to acknowledge frankly, and say to 
the people straight out that we did not seize power because we were unorganized and not conscious. 

Millions are being impoverished; millions killed. The most advanced countries are perishing, and in 
consequence they will be confronted with the question. 

The transition from the first stage to the second - the transition of power to the proletariat and the 
peasantry is characterized, on the one hand, by a maximum of legality (Russia is now the freest, the most 
advanced country in the world); and, on the other, by a trusting and not conscious attitude of the masses 
toward the Government. Even our Bolsheviks show confidence in the Government. That can only be 
explained by intoxication incidental to revolution. That is the death of socialism. You, comrades, have 
confidence in the government. If that's your position, our ways part. I prefer to remain in the minority. 
One Liebknecht is worth more than 110 defensists of the Steklov and Chkeidze type. If you are in 
sympathy with Liebknecht and extend even a finger to the defensists — this will be a betrayal of 
international socialism. We must speak to the people without using Latin words. We must speak simply. 



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intelligibly. They have the right ... we must adapt ourselves ... we must make the transition . . . but we 
must do it. Our line will prove right. If we draw away from these people, all the oppressed will come to 
us, because the war will bring them to us. They have no other way out. 

Thesis III. No support whatever to the Provisional Government. We must explain the utter falsity of all 
its promises, particularly its renunciation of annexations. There must be exposure instead of the 
impermissible illusion — breeding "demand" that this Government, the government of the capitalists, 
cease being imperialistic. 

Pravda demands of the Government that it renounce annexations. To demand of the government of the 
capitalists that it renounce annexations — nonsense! Flagrant mockery of.... 

From the scientific standpoint, it is such a fog of deceit, which the entire international proletariat, the 
entire. ... It is high time to admit the mistake. Have done with greetings and resolutions! It's time to get 
down to business. We must proceed with a business-like, sober. . . 

Thesis IV. Recognition of the fact that in the majority of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies 
our party constitutes a minority, and as yet a weak minority, in the face of the bloc of all the petty 
bourgeois opportunist elements, from the Populist socialists and the S.R.'s down to the Organization 
Committee, Steklov, etc., etc. (Chkheidze, Tseretelli, etc.) — who have yielded to the influence of the 
bourgeoisie, and have been extending this influence to the proletariat. 

We must explain to the masses that the Soviet of Workers' Deputies is the only possible form of 
revolutionary government; and that, therefore, our task is, while this Government is submitting to the 
influence of the bourgeoisie, a patient, systematic and persistent explanation to the masses of the error of 
their tactics, an explanation especially adapted to the practical needs of the masses. 

So long as we remain in the minority, we carry on the work of criticism and of explaining errors, 
advocating all along the necessity of transferring the entire state power to the Soviets of Workers' 
Deputies, so that the masses may learn from experience how to rid themselves of their errors. 

We Bolsheviks are in the habit of adopting a maximum of revolutionism. But that is not enough. It is 
necessary to analyze. . . . The real government is the Soviet of Workers' Deputies. To think otherwise is 
to lapse into anarchism. It is conceded that in the Soviet our party is in the minority. We must explain to 
the masses that the Soviet of Workers' Deputies is the only possible government, never seen in the world 
before, except for the Commune. What if the majority in the Soviet of Workers' Deputies holds the 
defensist point of view? That cannot be helped. For us there remains only to explain patiently, insistently, 
systematically the error of their tactics. 

So long as we are in the minority, we carry on the work of criticism, in order to free the masses from 
deceit. We do not want the masses to believe us just on our say-so; we are not charlatans. We want the 
masses to he freed by expers.ence from their mistakes. 

The Manifesto of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies — there isn't a word in it imbued with 
class-consciousness. There is nothing to it but phrases. The one thing that can ruin everything 
revolutionary is the phrase this flattery of the revolutionary people. All of Marxism teaches us not to 
succumb to the revolutionary phrase, especially at the moment when it is particularly current. 

Thesis V. Not a parliamentary republic — a return to it from the Soviet of Workers' Deputies would be a 



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Step back ward — but a Republic of Soviets of Workers', Farmhands' and Peasants' Deputies, from top to 
bottom. 

Abolition of the police, the army and the officialdom. 

Salaries of all functionaries not to exceed the average wage of a competent worker; all functionaries to be 
elected and to be subject to recall at any time. 

This is the lesson taught us by the French Commune, a lesson forgotten by Kautsky, but taught by the 
workers in the years 1905 and 1917. The experience of these years teaches us that ... we must not permit 
the re-establishment of the police, we must not permit the re-establishment of the old army. We must 
change our program; it is antiquated. The Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies is a step toward 
socialism. No police, no army, no officialdom. The Constituent Assembly must be convoked — but by 
whom? Resolutions are written to be filed or scrapped. I would be glad to see the Constituent Assembly 
convened tomorrow, but it is naive to believe that Guchkov will convoke the Constituent Assembly. All 
this prattle about compelling the Provisional Government to convoke the Constituent Assembly is 
hollow, wholesale deception. There were revolutions in the past, but the police has remained; there were 
revolutions in the past, but all the functionaries and the rest have remained. Therein lies the reason for the 
ruin of revolutions. The Soviets of Workers' Deputies is the only government that can convoke this 
Assembly. We have all embraced the Soviets but we have failed to grasp their meaning. From this form 
of government we are pulling back to the International, which drags at the tail of the bourgeoisie. 

A bourgeois republic cannot solve the question [of war], because the latter can be settled only on an 
international scale. We do not promise to emancipate, but we say that only under this form (Soviets of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies) can this be done. No other government but that of the Soviet of 
Workers' and Farmhands' Deputies. If we talk about the Commune, we will not make ourselves 
understood. But if we say: Replace the police by the Soviets of Workers' and Farmhands' Deputies, learn 
how to rule, there is no one to stop you — (this will be understood). The art of ruling cannot be gleaned 
from any books. You must experiment, make mistakes and learn how to rule. 

Thesis VI. In the agrarian program — the center of gravity must be shifted to the Soviets of Farmhands' 
Deputies. The confiscation of all landlord estates. Nationalization of all lands in the country. The 
management of the lands to be in the hands of the local Soviets of Farmhands' and Peasants' Deputies. 
Creation of Soviets of Deputies from among the poorest peasantry. Creation of model establishments out 
of large estates (from 100 to 300 dessiatins, depending on local and other conditions and in accordance 
with the estimates of local institutions) under the control of the Soviet of Farmhands' Deputies and at 
public expense. 

What is the peasantry? We do not know. There are no statistics, but we do know that it is a force. 

If they take the land, rest assured that they will not give it up to you, nor will they ask your permission. 
The axis of the program has shifted. The center of gravity is the Soviets of Farmhands' Deputies. If the 
revolution is not settled by the Russian peasant, it will be settled by the German worker. 

The mouzhik from Tambov. 

No payment for one dessiatin; one ruble for the second; two rubles for the third. We will take the land, 
and the landlord will never be able to get it back. 



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Agriculture on a communal basis. 

It is necessary to create separate Soviets of Deputies from among the poorest peasants. There is the 
mouzhik, the middle peasant and the agricultural laborer. Even if the latter is given land, he will be 
unable to build up a farm anyway. It is necessary to create model establishments out of large estates, run 
on a communal basis, with the management in the hands of the Soviets of Farmhands' Deputies. 

There are large estates. 

Thesis VII. Immediate merger of all the banks in the country into one general national bank, over which 
the Soviet of Workers' Deputies must have control. 

"A bank is a form of social accounting" (Marx). The war teaches economics. Everybody knows that the 
banks plunder the national forces. Banks are the nervous system, the focal point of national economic 
life. We cannot take the banks into our own hands, but we advocate their merger under the control of the 
Soviet of Workers' Deputies. 

Thesis VIII. Not the "introduction" of socialism as our immediate task, but the immediate placing of 
social production and the distribution of goods under the control of the Soviets of Workers' Deputies. 

Life and the revolution are pushing the Constituent Assembly into the background. It is not important 
who writes the laws down on paper, but it is important who puts them into effect. A dictatorship of the 
proletariat exists, but nobody knows what to do with it (Marx . . . only that which has matured into 
actuality). Capitalism has become state capitalism. 

Thesis IX. The party tasks: 

1. Immediate party Congress. 

2. Change the party program, chiefly: 

a) on imperialism, 

b) on the attitude to the state, and our demand for a "Commune-State,"* 

c) amend our outdated minimum program. 

3. Change the party name. 

Thesis X Rebuilding of the International. 

We must take the initiative in the creation of a revolutionary International, an International against the 
social- chauvinists and against the "center. 

Summary. 

The Soviet of Workers' Deputies has been created; it wields enormous influence. Everyone instinctively 
sympathizes with it. In this instinct there is more revolutionary thought than in all the revolutionary 
phrases. If the Soviets of Workers' Deputies prove able to take the reins into their own hands — the cause 
of freedom is secure. Even if you write the most ideal laws ~ who will execute them? The self-same 
functionaries, but they are connected with the bourgeoisie. 



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We must not say to the masses "realize socialism," but "adopt" socialism. Capitalism has advanced; war 
capitalism is different from pre-war capitalism. 

On the basis of tactical conclusions it is necessary to turn to practical measures. It is necessary to call a 
party Congress immediately; it is necessary to revise the program. A great deal in it is antiquated. It is 
necessary to change the minimum program. 

Personally and speaking for myself alone, I propose that we change the name of the party, that we call it 
the Communist Party. The people will understand the name "Communist." The majority of the official 
social democrats have betrayed socialism. Liebknecht is the only social democrat. You are afraid to go 
back on your old memories? But to change our linen, we Ve got to take off the dirty shirt and put on a 
clean one. 

Why reject the entire experience of the world struggle? 

The majority of the social democrats all over the world have betrayed socialism and have gone over to 
the side of their governments (Scheidemann, Plekhanov, Guesde). What to do to get Scheidemann to 
agree? This point of view is the death of socialism. To send a radio telegram to Scheidemann [proposing] 
the termination of the war ... is deceit. 

The name social democrat is inaccurate. Don't hang on to an old name which is rotten through and 
through. Have the will to build a new party . . . and all the oppressed will come to you. 

In Zimmerwald and Kienthal the Center, Rabochaya Gazeta, predominated. We shall prove to you what 
the entire experience has shown. We declare that we have formed a left and have broken with the center. 
Either you talk of the International, and then you must carry on. . . or you. ... 

The Left Zimmerwald tendency exists in all countries of the world. The masses must realize that 
socialism has split throughout the world. The defensists have renounced social ism. Liebknecht alone . . . 
the future is his. 

I hear that in Russia there is a trend toward unification. Unification with the defensists — that is a betrayal 
of socialism. I think that it is better to stand alone like Liebknecht - one against a hundred and ten. 

BAGDATIEV: Proposes not to open discussion but to settle the question of the meeting that is now 
taking place, and if it is decided not to go, then the meeting can continue. 

SKRYPNIK: The report of comrade Lenin must provide the answer to the question as to whether we 
should go there or not. 

VOITINSKY: In the report of comrade Lenin a mass of questions were touched upon that were not 
touched at the conference of the Bolsheviks. A discussion is taking place both among the Bolsheviks as 
well as among the Mensheviks; it would he interesting therefore to place the theses for dis cussion before 
the joint meeting. I propose that we go to the joint meeting, which hinds nobody. 

The discussion is of importance to the delegates from the provinces. 

The proposal is adopted. 

The faction proceeds to the meeting hall in the Tauride Palace. 



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APPENDIX 

The Resolution on the Provisional Government. 

"Whereas the Provisional Government is composed of the representatives of moderate bourgeois classes, 
hound up with the interests of Anglo-French imperialism; 

"The program it has proclaimed is being only partially realized by it and only under the pressure of the 
Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies; 

"The organizing forces of the counter-revolution, covering themselves with the banner of the Provisional 
Government, with the open toleration on the part of the latter, have already launched an attack against the 
Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies; 

"The Soviets of Soldiers' and Workers' Deputies are the only organs of the will of the revolutionary 
people; 

"The Conference calls upon the revolutionary democracy: 

"1) To exercise a vigilant control over the activities of the Provisional Government in the center and in 
the prov inces, urging it on toward a most energetic struggle for the complete liquidation of the old 
regime; 

"2) To fuse around the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, the only ones capable, in an alliance 
with other progressive forces, of repelling the attempts of Czarist and bourgeois counter-revolution, and 
of intrenching and extend ing the conquests of the revolutionary movement." 



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